Omar Rojas Echeverría, the “Bolivian Pablo Escobar” (Photo: Colombian National Police)
Omar Rojas Echeverría, a former Bolivian police major considered the “Pablo Escobar of Bolivia” due to the amount of drugs he trafficked and his links with the high echelons of power in the Andean country, will be extradited to the United States after being detained in Colombia in an operation coordinated by the US anti-drug agency (DEA), as reported this weekend by Colombian media.
Rojas Echeverría had been arrested in March 2021 in Colombia, accused of sending at least 100 tons of cocaine and weapons to the United States, the Colombian magazine revealed on Saturday. Week, citing information from the DEA.
According to DEA information revealed by Week, Rojas Echeverría was considered one of the largest cocaine traffickers in the region and the leader of an extensive network that had links in Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico and the United States.
According to the Colombian media, to identify those involved in this organization, the statement of an informant who had worked in the anti-drug agency and had a long-standing relationship with Rojas Echeverría was key. The findings required months of investigation between the Colombian Anti-Narcotics Police and the authorities of neighboring countries, who acted together and with the support of the DEA.
From police to drug dealer
The investigation found that Rojas Echeverría had contacts in the Bolivian anti-narcotics agency and in the highest echelons of the Government of his country, which would explain how an unknown former Bolivian police major, who deserted from the force in 2014, achieved in so few years to become one of the most important drug traffickers in the region.
Jorge Roca Suárez, a former partner of Pablo Escobar, captured in Peru, also fell in the operation; Roberto Moisés Banzer, Jheyson Montaño Fernández, Rómulo Ramírez Rodríguez and César Omar Cuéllar Pérez (Photo: National Police of Colombia)
The DEA report revealed that the former director of the Bolivian Anti-Drug Agency (who was not identified) together with Rojas Echeverría, who had held a high position in said entity, “used their official positions and connections to obtain access to Bolivian aerodromes. in order to facilitate cocaine shipments in large quantities ”.
It should also be noted that Rojas Echeverría’s brother, Alexánder Rojas, was, until last year, Inspector General of the Bolivian Police, the third position in the hierarchy of this institution.
According to the DEA, using his knowledge and contacts, Rojas Echeverría became in charge of coordinating the movement of high-end aircraft loaded with drugs that left from clandestine runways in the department of Beni, in northern Bolivia, to Central America with destination end to the United States.
As stated in the DEA documents obtained by WeekTo achieve its objective, Rojas Echeverría “hired” officials from the Bolivian and Peruvian air control authorities to turn a blind eye and allow the aircraft to be loaded with cocaine and to leave without any inconvenience.
Investigations indicate that to organize this network in Bolivia, Rojas Echeverría also had the protection of the security forces in operations that would go back to the beginning of 2019 and the end of 2020, when it was dismantled in the transition period between the Government of Evo Morales and Jeanine Áñez. The US authorities are still trying to pinpoint these links.
Also key to the business was the figure of Juan Roca Suárez, better known as “Techo de Paja”, a famous Bolivian narco who did business with Escobar’s Medellín cartel in the 1990s and was arrested in the same operation, called “Operation Andes”, which led to the capture of Rojas Echeverría.
Jorge Roca Suárez, called Techo de paja, also fell in Colombia along with Rojas. (Photo: Colombian National Police)
Roberto Moisés Banzer, Jheyson Montaño Fernández, Rómulo Ramírez Rodríguez and César Omar Cuéllar Pérez also fell in the same operation.
The investigation also found that Rojas Echeverría received weapons as part of the payment for shipments, and that she sent these weapons to the United States and some of its partners in the countries of the region, such as Peru, Bolivia and Colombia.
Rojas Echeverría will now be sent to the United States where he will have to answer for the crimes of drug trafficking and firearms before the court of the Southern District of New York.
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