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Former Colombian drug kingpin Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela died Tuesday night at the age of 83 in a North Carolina prison, his lawyer David Markus confirmed to EFE on Wednesday, without offering further details.
The former drug lord had been serving a 30-year prison sentence in the United States for drug trafficking since 2006.
Rodriguez Orejuela was one of the leaders and founders of the Cali Cartel, a leadership he shared with his brother Miguel, during the height of Colombia’s drug violence, when the slain drug lord Pablo Escobar (1949-1993) led the Medellín Cartel.
In April 2020, Markus had asked for his release, claiming that Rodriguez-Orejuela was an elderly person “with several chronic illnesses” who was at risk of dying at the height of the pandemic in a prison with “atrocious” conditions.
On that occasion, Markus pointed out that the ex-capo suffered from two cancers, colon and prostate, and invoked a new law to reduce sentences.
However, the authorities refused to grant his request for “compassion” and his early release and the co-founder of the Cali cartel had to remain in Butner Medium prison in North Carolina, where he finally died.