Medellín’s ‘top crime boss’ arrested in Panama

Panama announced Feb. 10 the arrest of the top leader of the Oficina de Envigado, a Colombian crime syndicate said to be a surviving remnant of Pablo Escobar's notorious Medellín Cartel. The suspect, identified only by his alias, "Pichi," was apprehended at a luxury home in Panama City in a joint operation by Panamanian and Colombian police. He is accused of having ordered the murder of nine—including three rival kingpins—in December at Envigado, a town on the southern outskirts of Medellín. Colombian authorities have also named him in the assassination of two police agents in Medellín in July last year. Pichi is said to have taken over the crime syndicate after the arrest of its former leader "Sebastian" last year. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos congratulated the National Police via Twitter, calling the operation "a good hit." (Colombia Reports, BBC News, Feb. 10)

Last month, Panamanian authorities announced the arrest of one of a pair of twin brother kingpins known as "Los Mellos de Casandra," who apparently controlled smuggling routes along Central America's Caribbean coast.