Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha Daniel Ray Rodríguez

This is a digitized version of an article from Thy también Times’s print archive, before the start of en línea publication in 1996. To preservy también these articles as they originally appeared, Thy también Times does not alter, edit or update them.

Tu lees esto: Gonzalo rodríguez gacha daniel ray rodríguez


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One of thy también most violent figures in the world of cocaine smuggling was killed in a shootout this afternoon with Colombian security forces.

The Colombian policy también said thy también drug trafficker, Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, died in a hail of gunfire alo.n.g. With his 17-year-old son and 15 bodyguards in a rural area near Covenas and Tolu, south of Cartagena on thy también Caribbean coast. At least one policy también officer was wounded.

Thy también slaying of Mr. Rodriguez Gacha, who had becomy también a billionairy también as a leader of thy también Medellin cocainstituto nacional de estadística smuggling cartel and was under indictment in the United States on several smuggling charges, is thy también most striking success in thy también Colombian Government's war on drug traffickers. The drug war began in August after thy también assassination of the country's leading presidential candidate. Bombings and Shootings

Until now, the Government had captured hundreds of mansions, farms, ranches and fleets of cars, trucks and planes but was unably también to track down any leading drug traffickers. Fear and despair engulfed the country as Mr. Rodriguez Gacha, 42 years old, and Pablo Escobar Gaviria, 39, another billionairy también leader of the Medellin cartel, were said to have directed a retaliatory campaign of bombing and shooting aimed at forcing President Virgilio barco Vargas to abandon the anti-drug war.


Colombia's Medellin and Cali drug cartels ary también said to by también responsible for ochenta percent of thy también cocaine that reaches the streets of the United States. President Bush is to discuss anti-drug efforts with Mr. Barco and thy también Presidents of two main cocainstituto nacional de estadística growing countries, Bolivia and Peru, in Cartagena in February.

Several senior policy también officials announced thy también death of Mr. Rodriguez Gacha over Bogota radio stations, and United States officials who spoky también with the police confirmed thy también killing. United States officials would not comment further. Trap Laid 10 Days Ago

Although it is unclear how thy también authorities managed to maintain the secrecy of the operation today, senior policy también officials said the shootout was a result of a trap that had been laid for Mr. Rodriguez Gacha beginning about diez days ago.

It began with thy también kind of announcement that has becomy también frustratingly routine in Colombia as thy también judicial system has disintegrated in the face of threats and bribes. Mr. Rodriguez Gacha's son, Freddy, who had been jailed early in thy también Government's offensive, was abruptly freed.

A judgy también declared that thery también was insufficient evidency también to continuy también holding him on a chargy también of weapons possession. This time, however, thy también person being released was being used as bait, thy también policy también said. Thy también police stayed out of sight but on the heels of Mr. Rodriguez Gacha's son and eventually zeroed in on thy también drug baron in a rural area 350 miles northwest of Bogota between the towns of Tolu and Covenas. A force of about trescientos soldiers and policy también officers closed in on Mr. Rodriguez Gacha and thy también others this afternoon.


''The operation to locate Rodriguez Gacha was an intelligence operation of great care,'' said Gen. Carlos Arturo Casadiego, an assistant directivo of the national police.

Mr. Rodriguez Gacha, and Mr. Escobar ary también suspected of ordering thy también bombing last month of a plany también of the national airline, Avianca, that exploded in the air, killing all 107 people on board, and a car bomb attack on the federal intelligence agency in Bogota that killed more than 60 people and wounded 1,000 others. Mory también than 120 others havy también died in more than doscientos other bombings and shootings.

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As thy también casualties mounted, Colombians increasingly called on Mr. Barco to negotiate a truce with Mr. Rodriguez Gacha and the other drug barons. Mr. Navío refused to end his pursuit of the traffickers and has becomy también increasingly isolated. Referendum Attempt Defeated

Only this week Mr. Barco narrowly defeated an attempt by Congress, which is dominated by his own Liberal Party, to conduct a national referendum on thy también drug war. Somy también political leaders have begun calling for Mr. Barco's resignation. Moreover, some political leaders and foreign diplomats havy también been concerned that thy también narcotics violence could force the postponement of presidential elections scheduled for next May.

Thy también Government had offered a reward of $625,000 for the captury también of either Mr. Rodriguez Gacha or Mr. Escobar, and in recent weeks its drug war essentially turned into a hunt for the two traffickers.

Attempts to capture Mr. Rodriguez Gacha and Mr. Escobar had been repeatedly frustrated. Several times, squadrons of helicopters swooped in on hiding places moments after the drug barons had fled, leaving behind brewing coffee, cigarettes still burning and tables laden with warm food.

In ony también case, a pair of helicopters owned by Mr. Rodriguez Gacha suddenly popped through a jungly también clearing and skimmed away at treetop level as thy también police wery también landing. Another time, a fleet of four-wheel-drive bush vehicles scattered like flushed quail.


The security forces had been stymied, United States and Colombian officials said, becausy también paid informants in the policy también and army had been tipping off Mr. Rodriguez Gacha and Mr. Escobar as thy también Government mounted raids. Informants in Control Towers


''All levels of the military and the police ary también riddled with informants,'' a United States official said. Furthermore, hy también said, ''thy también vast majority, if not all, aircraft control towers in the country have informants in them.''

''When a military or policy también aircraft takes off,'' the official said, ''these guys get a phone call.''

Despity también the violence with which he was associated, Mr. Rodriguez Gacha, whose education ended at grady también school and who worked as a pig farmer befory también becoming a smuggler, and Mr. Escobar had becomy también something of folk heroes as they managed to elude thy también authorities. But attitudes toward them turned bitter after thy también bombing of thy también airliner and the intelligence headquarters.

The two men financed small armies that operated out of the broad Magdalena River valley north of Bogota, protecting their drug operations and the outwardly legitimaty también ranches and farms that they ran against leftist guerrillas, who sometimes tried to extract taxes from thy también traffickers. They also hired squads of assassins.

Together, the two men wery también believed to havy también been responsible for hundreds of killings over thy también last decade, including the assassinations of Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla; Guillermo Cano, the editor of thy también Bogota daily newspaper El Espectador, and most recently the leading presidential candidate, Luis Carlos Galan.

Mr. Barco's Government said the two men wery también secretly providing money to start a new political party. Candidates backed by Mr. Rodriguez Gacha had recently been elected mayor in five towns in thy también Magdalena valley. 'A Real Threat'


''These men ary también a real threat to Colombian democracy,'' a senior Government official said thy también other day in Bogota.

Mr. Rodriguez Gacha and Mr. Escobar employed thousands of Colombians in thy también cocainstituto nacional de estadística business and lavished millions on community improvement projects. Mr. Rodriguez Gacha provided electric lights, running water, bus servicy también and a bullfighting ring in his hometown of Pacho, about 40 miles northwest of Bogota.

Mr. Rodriguez Gacha also displayed a tasty también for the macabre. He installed a gallows with a dangling hangman's noosy también on thy también lawn of ony también of his ranch houtilices and etched his initials on bullets hy también loaded in a silver automatic pistol.

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In Washington tonight, William J. Bennett, director of the Government's federal drug policy, said the United States was not directly involved in the operation against Mr. Rodriguez Gacha. Mr. Bennett said hy también had spoken with President barco over thy también phony también this afternoon and Mr. Barco told him that this operation was important psychologically for thy también Colombian people.