Drug trafficking: owner of Bolivia? – Narcotráfico: ¿dueño de Bolivia?

We won silver medal in narcotraffic, and where are the winners?

Editorial, El Deber:

The powerful drug clan that no one saw

Day after day, new revelations emerge about what appears to be a powerful clan around drug trafficker Omar Rojas Echeverría, whom in Colombia, where he is being held pending extradition to the United States, they call “Bolivian Pablo Escobar.”

The most recent thing that was known is that Lucero Norca Rojas Echeverría, sister of former mayor Omar Rojas, was a councilor for the Movement for Socialism (MAS) in the municipality of Sacaba, during two consecutive municipal administrations, from 2010 to 2021.

The investigations reveal that Lucero Norca Rojas would be a leader of the party and would have relations with cocalero leaders in the Cochabamba tropics, and that in recent days, Rojas’ family, upon learning that the Prosecutor’s Office and the Special Force for the Fight against Drug Trafficking (Felcn) initiated investigations for legitimization of illicit profits, is hiding assets and getting rid of everything that links them to the brother detained in Colombia.

Another brother of Omar Rojas is Alexander Rojas Echeverría, who became an inspector of the National Police until last year, which is equivalent to the third position in the hierarchy of the institution.

The rationale for the extradition request for Omar Rojas showed that the investigations of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) discovered links between the former police major and high levels of the Bolivian government.

The document presented by the United States to the Supreme Court of Justice of Colombia indicates that in lengthy meetings and legally recorded telephone conversations, the defendants “described their extensive drug trafficking experiences and their connections with the highest levels of the Bolivian government.”

The Colombian magazine Semana revealed that former Major Omar Rojas maintained links with high-ranking Bolivian police chiefs, and that they used their high-ranking official positions and connections to gain access to Bolivian airfields in order to facilitate the loading of large quantities of cocaine by other members of the trafficking network.

The investigations also discovered that the gang of which Omar Rojas was a member had Jorge Roca Suárez as a leader, known as ‘Techo de Paja’ [‘Thatch Roof’], and that he was seeking meetings with Colombian guerrilla organizations for the installation of drug laboratories.

‘Techo de Paja’ served a 27-year sentence for drug trafficking in US prisons. When he was released he returned to Bolivia where he still had pending accounts with the justice system. He was rooted, but surprisingly it was learned of his arrest in Lima in March 2021, in a simultaneous trinational operation in which Rojas fell in Colombia.

Roca Suárez will also be extradited to the United States because the Peruvian government let it be known that in the next few hours it will authorize his transfer.
The news about this case brings new and surprising revelations every day. The country’s authorities apparently had no information on the drug trafficking of this gang made up mainly of Bolivians, and apparently with political and police connections at the highest level.

The question is: in such a case, who should investigate those connections? If those indicated by the reports that arrive from Colombia are precisely high-ranking officers in the Bolivian Police and in the government, it is unlikely that it will be possible to advance in inquiries and conclusions with any expectation of credibility.

El poderoso clan de la droga que nadie vio

Día que pasa surgen nuevas revelaciones acerca de lo que parece un poderoso clan en torno al narcotraficante Omar Rojas Echeverría, al que en Colombia, donde se encuentra detenido en espera de que se ejecute su extradición a Estados Unidos, llaman “Pablo Escobar boliviano”.

Lo más reciente que se supo es que Lucero Norca Rojas Echeverría, hermana del exmayor Omar Rojas fue concejal del Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) en el municipio de Sacaba, durante dos gestiones municipales consecutivas, desde 2010 hasta 2021.

Las investigaciones revelan que Lucero Norca Rojas sería dirigente del partido y tendría relaciones con dirigentes cocaleros del trópico de Cochabamba, y que en los días recientes, la familia de Rojas, al enterarse de que la Fiscalía y la Fuerza Especial de Lucha contra el Narcotráfico (Felcn) iniciaron investigaciones por legitimación de ganancias ilícitas, está ocultando bienes y deshaciéndose de todo lo que los vincule con el hermano detenido en Colombia.

Otro hermano de Omar Rojas es Alexander Rojas Echeverría, quien llegó a ser inspector de la Policía Nacional hasta el año pasado, lo que equivale al tercer puesto en jerarquía de la institución.

La fundamentación del pedido de extradición de Omar Rojas mostró que las investigaciones del Departamento Estadounidense Antidroga (DEA) descubrieron nexos del exmayor de policía con altos niveles del gobierno de Bolivia.

El documento presentado por Estados Unidos a la Corte Suprema de Justicia de Colombia señala que en largas reuniones y conversaciones telefónicas grabadas legalmente, los acusados “describieron sus extensas experiencias de narcotráfico y sus conexiones con los más altos niveles del gobierno boliviano”. 

La revista colombiana Semana reveló que el ex mayor Omar Rojas mantuvo nexos con altos jefes policiales de Bolivia, y que utilizaron sus altos cargos oficiales y conexiones para obtener acceso a aeródromos bolivianos con el fin de facilitar la carga de cocaína en grandes cantidades por parte de otros miembros de la red de traficantes.

Las investigaciones también descubrieron que la banda de la que formaba parte Omar Rojas tenía como líder a Jorge Roca Suárez, conocido como ‘Techo de Paja’, y que buscaba reuniones con organizaciones guerrilleras de Colombia para la instalación de laboratorios de la droga.

‘Techo de paja’ cumplió una condena de 27 años por narcotráfico en prisiones de Estados Unidos. Cuando salió libre retornó a Bolivia donde aún tenía cuentas pendientes con la justicia. Estaba arraigado, pero sorpresivamente se conoció de su detención en Lima en marzo de 2021, en una operación trinacional simultánea en la que Rojas cayó en Colombia.

Roca Suárez también será extraditado a Estados Unidos porque el gobierno de Perú dejó saber que en las próximas horas autorizará su traslado.
Las noticias sobre este caso traen cada día nuevas y sorprendentes revelaciones. Las autoridades del país no tenían, por lo visto, ninguna información del tráfico de drogas de esta banda integrada principalmente por bolivianos, y aparentemente con conexiones política y policiales al más alto nivel.

La pregunta es: en un caso así, ¿quién debiera investigar esas conexiones? Si los señalados por los informes que llegan de Colombia son precisamente altos mandos en la Policía Boliviana y en el gobierno, es poco probable que se pueda avanzar en indagaciones y conclusiones con alguna expectativa de credibilidad.

https://eldeber.com.bo/opinion/el-poderoso-clan-de-la-droga-que-nadie-vio_264466

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

One thought on “Drug trafficking: owner of Bolivia? – Narcotráfico: ¿dueño de Bolivia?

  1. Coincidentally or not, Sacaba and the hills above it were the only region in all of Bolivia, where I was not welcomed when I was walking through the country.
    In one of the villages up there, people made it clear that it was better I leave immediately. I could only relax as I descended into the valley leading down to Laguna Korani. Although there, I was mighty afraid of dogs, until a lady from the fields saved me by offering to walk together with me.

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