The notorious drug trafficking and organized crime group known as the Sinaloa Cartel is now seeking to secure its hold on the Colombian drug market by butchering indigenous farmers and recruiting local youths to carry out assassinations, the Daily Star reports.
As the newspaper notes, the National Indigenous of Colombia Organisation has reported 120 indigenous deaths in the past 14 months, which is "the equivalent to one every 72 hours."
The cartel, which was previously led by notorious drug lord Joaquin Guzman a.k.a. "El Chapo", appears to be making gains after the Colombian government signed a peace agreement with leftist FARC guerrillas in 2016.
"We have the Sinaloa Cartel, that has taken advantage of this vacuum caused by not having the FARC guerillas, to take control in these areas", an indigenous leader from the Cauca state named Arsenio Vascues said. "It has made recruitments to take control and dominate the zones where there is illegal production," he added.
In September, a pamphlet circulated in the city of Suarez claimed that the cartel was responsible for the murder of Colombian regional election candidate Karina Garcia, even though local authorities alleged that the killing was carried out by the leader of the dissident FARC group.
In July 2019, a US court sentenced Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to life in prison on a range of charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering, placing him in a US maximum security prison.
Despite this blow to its leadership, the Sinaloa Cartel has been increasingly active in Colombia, being at the forefront of the illegal drug trade between the South American country and the United States.