Pacho Herrera was a stout man, one meter 70 in height and always dressed elegantly with a jacket and tie. Born in Palmira, on August 24, 1951, he was said to be the unrecognized son of Benjamín Herrera Zuleta, ‘the Black Pope of Cocaine’, who started the trafficking business in Valle del Cauca.
Born into a humble family, his ambition was so great that, from a young age, he began to traffic, first with emeralds and jewels. Until he moved to the United States at age 22 and became a mechanic for the Nemac Corporation, an aircraft parts company in New York. “At that time the work that was done was for the government warplanes. As I was an industrial mechanic and I managed to get Social Security, I began to work legally “, said Herrera in an investigation before the Prosecutor’s Office, which reviewed Week.
There he worked for four years, his salary was two dollars an hour, with that money he bought calculators and electronic watches that he sent to Colombia and sold them at a much higher price. But then his brother Ramiro Herrera proposed to him wash dollars. Which he accepted, in five years he got to take out in pots, bottle openers, other appliances and double-bottom suitcases, about USD $ 100 million.
“The dollars that he brought from the United States were from drug trafficking and also from some industrialists, since due to the exchange rate situation that existed at that time, it was not possible for them to bring them legally. But most of the dollars that I brought were from people who worked in illegal activities, ”Herrera confessed in the investigation before the Prosecutor’s Office.
Her involvement in the drug trafficking business made her position herself as the lord of cocaine distribution and the money laundering in the United States, this made him one of the wealthiest drug traffickers in the world, however, so far the total money he raised during his life is not known.
Upon his return to Colombia he founded the ‘Clan Herrera’ and positioned himself as third in command within the Cali Cartel, being the youngest man to lead one of the largest illegal groups in the country at the time, as it came to be, in his time, the most important money launderer of the Colombian drug cartels supported by structures such as the Ramírez Clan in Valle del Cauca among others.
It was also called as “The man with a thousand faces”, This is because after Pablo Escobar’s escape from La Catedral, an album with photos of Herrera was known where it was seen that the man had made several adjustments to try to identify his current appearance, since it was very difficult to recognize him.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, on September 1, 1996, Hélmer Herrera, who remained a fugitive from justice, decided to surrender to General Rosso José Serrano, leader of the Search Block unit of the Colombian National Police, in the church of the municipality of Yumbo.
He was the last of the four leaders of the Cali cartel to be captured and shortly thereafter, on October 8, 1996, Pacho Herrera revealed to the police that he had collaborated in the capture of Pablo Escobar, claiming to have spent his entire fortune on that this happened, he was later transferred to the maximum security pavilion of the Palmira penitentiary.
On November 4, 1998, Rafael Ángel Uribe Serna, posing as a lawyer, entered the Palmira prison where Hélmer Herrera was staying and murdered him, giving him seven gunshot wounds.
Pacho Herrera died at the age of 48 with contusions to his right arm, a blunt trauma to his chest, injuries to his face and a three-centimeter wound on the right side of his head. He never knew why, but he had enough accounts to pay from his crimes in the drug trafficking and dollar laundering business not to imagine it. Nor was it the first attack he faced.
In an investigation before the Prosecutor’s Office, Uribe Serna affirmed that he killed him because he threatened to do the same with his family if he did not assassinate the emerald Víctor Carranza, and he could not fulfill the mission. Later the authorities would dismiss the motive, as they managed to determine that The hit man was sent by the Norte del Valle Cartel in retaliation for an attack on its leader, Wilber Varela, in 1996, ordered by Herrera.
A few hours ago it was learned that after the capture of William Herrera López, alias W, nephew of the drug trafficker, the entire fortune he kept from his uncle was confiscated from the man, in total 324 properties were recovered (37 apartments, 93 houses, 62 parking lots , 8 farms, 108 ‘Condominium Project’ lots and 16 offices), 2 companies, 3 commercial establishments and 247 livestock.
318 properties were occupied in Cali, Cerrito, Jamundí, Tuluá, Yumbo, Ginebra, Calima, Palmira, Candelaria and Dagua (Valle del Cauca); 5 more in the rural area of Cimitarra (Santander), 2 in Bogotá, 2 in Cartagena (Bolívar), 1 in Pereira (Risaralda), and 1 in Girardot (Cundinamarca). In addition to a farm located on Lake Calima, whose extension exceeds 137 hectares and is commercially valued at 3.3 billion pesos
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