In the history of drug trafficking in Colombia there is a man who for years aroused mystery among the authorities and who for decades managed to stay in business and survive the bloodthirsty war between the cartels: Orlando Sanchez Cristancho.
The Colombian better known as “the man in overalls” and who was one of the heads of the North Valley Cartel, will be extradited in the next few weeks to Miami to respond to the Federal Court of the Southern District of Florida for the charges of bank fraud and money laundering.
President Juan Manuel Santos endorsed this extradition through a resolution of October 17. In the document revealed by the Semana magazine, the Colombian government explained that its capture was due “solely for the purposes of the extradition”.
“The man in overalls” was arrested on March 27 in a luxurious farm near the municipality of Facatativá, one hour from Bogotá.
The drug trafficker had already fulfilled a sentence back in 2001 within a US federal prison of five years and three years for money laundering.
The name of Orlando Sanchez Cristancho came to light in 1996, after the attack against Miguel Rodríguez Abadía, son of Cali cartel leader Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela.
The newspaper El Tiempo revealed at that time a secret conversation between Rodriguez Orejuela and the boss Hélmer Pacho Herrera in which he spoke for the first time of “The Man in the Overalls” and his intimidating power in the Valley. Even the head of the Cali cartel referred to this Sanchez as being “worse than Pablo Escobar.”
According to the Colombian police, the drug trafficker is suspected of participating in homicides for drug trafficking vendettas and being one of the alleged masterminds behind the murder of Elizabeth Montoya. The link between the leaders of the Cali cartel and the campaign of former President Ernesto Samper who allegedly finance his campaign for the Presidency.
Colombian media also revealed at that time, that “the man in overalls” fled Colombia to Mexico, where he allied with the Mexican mafia and became the right hand of Amado Carrillo, “The Lord of the Skies.”