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Former Colombian soccer player John Jimenez arrested for ties to powerful drug cartel

March 15, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Former Colombian soccer player John Jimenez arrested for ties to powerful drug cartel

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Former Colombian national team soccer defender John Jimenez was taken into custody on Sunday for his alleged ties to the “Los Rastrojos” drug cartel and will reportedly be extradited to the U.S. to face charges of money laundering.

John Jimenez is sought in Florida to stand trial before a judge. He was arrested in Cali, the capital of the province of Valle del Cauca.

The retired player and a number of his partners in crime “were dedicated to laundering money in shopping centers in Cali,” Valle del Cauca, the home base of the Rastrojos, General Jorge Luis Vargas of the Police’s Technical Unit stated.

Jimenez was part of a group within the Rastrojos organization that allegedly invested $3.3 million in the construction of barely detectable submarines used to transport cocaine to the U.S., which the world’s primary consumer of cocaine.

Jiminez, pictured in here in a team photo, was arrested for his ties to a Colombian drug cartel

The retired soccer player, who also played for local teams America de Cali and Quindio, reportedly used his family’s regional fame as businessmen, “which made it easy to make the illegal money appear legal and reside in Cali’s exclusive sectors.”

According to ColombiaReports.com, Jimenez was arrested with two other suspects believed to have participated in the money laundering scheme.

Officials said John Jiminez had ties to the group led by the Serna Brothers, Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias ‘Comba’ and Luis Enrique Calle Serna, who recently pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges in Miami Federal Court.

The Rastrojos are a drug cartel that split from Norte del Valle in the early 2000s.

Jiminez had ties to a powerful Colombian cartel led by the Serna Brothers Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias ‘Comba’ and Luis Enrique Calle Serna

What originally was an enforcer army soon grew into the primary heir of the decomposing cartel.

Between 2004 and 2011, the cartel became one of the biggest drug trafficking organizations in Colombia until a war against their rivals, paramilitary group AGC, a.k.a. “Los Urabeños,” which was lost by the Rastrojos.

Consequently, leaders of the Rastrojos’ cartel either surrendered to U.S. authorities or were apprehended. The organization lost its important role in the drug trade.

The group still exists but is believed to have split into three factions with infighting further endangering its future in Colombia and its role in drug trafficking.

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