|Casa de Bermudez|
By ACI - Borderland Beat
The year was 2007 and Mexico was in the process of ramping up its war against the cartels. A strange feeling overtook the nation as the drug war escalated further than anyone could have predicted. Most Americans never noticed the blood being spilled next door and few outside of the law enforcement remember the name Pedro Antonio Bermudez Suaza. There was event which did catch the media’s attention for a brief moment. Perhaps you can recall a plane which crashed into the Yucatan in Mexico. Authorities discovered inside the wreckage 3.7 tons of pure cocaine. This discovery,would turn into one of the largest cash seizures in history one hundred and fifty million dollars in all.
Pedro Antonio Bermudez Suaza had been in the game a long time; he entered into the world of drug trafficking back in the early eighties. He got his start working for Pablo Escobar and the Ochoa clan in Medellin, Colombia. He would regularly fly consignments out of the country to partners further north. He was quite successful at this venture and decided expanding was a good option, so slowly he began to build on his empire.
In the late eighties and early nineties Pedro Antonio Bermudez Suaza had successfully relocated his operation to Mexico City. As the Medellin Cartel lost power and the Cali Cartel took over as the predominate traffickers in the region, Bermudez Suaza saw the shift in power and began working with the Cali Cartel. In Mexico he found that he was welcomed, his connections back home served him well. He was in a perfect position to play a pivotal role within the international drug trade. He was to become a facilitator between one world and another. He for a time worked with the lord of the skies, Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Following the death of the lord of the skies, Bermudez Suaza began working with the federations as it was known then.
|Another of his Properties|
At the turn of the century Bermudez Suaza had become a key importer for the Sinaloa cartel. He was very useful to the organization. He wasn't just a facilitator between the Mexicans and Colombians but also an innovative smuggler. He is said to have received his nick name, the architect, because he pioneered the use of drug tunnels. Drug tunnels have become a highly effective way to crossing drugs over the border. Some say tunnels are responsible for the majority of the drugs making it through the border. It was this ingenuity and his ability to stay useful that Bermudez Suaza managed to survive in a game which allows for few mistakes.
Pedro Antonio Bermudez Suaza's mistake came when Mexican authorities found his plane which had crashed into the jungles of the Yucatan. Authorities discovered along with the cocaine, recordings implicating Felipe Bermudez Duran, Bermudez Suaza’s son. At least this is what is believed. What really happened is up for debate. Some claim the tape was fabricated and that until this point in time Pedro Antonio Bermudez Suaza was able to remain off the radar for the most part. The tape according to this alternative version of events were actually a cover for the informant working with authorities. It was actually through the work of a confidential informant that he was apprehended and his properties seized. As with all things Mexico the truth is buried in there somewhere.
His main contact for cocaine in Colombia was a man by the name of Olmedo Gomez Cruz, though he had many others. He was thought to have died in Colombia under unclear circumstances. Castro Jaramillo, Mejia Molina and Tobon Calle managed the trafficking side of the business. Aristizabal Mejia, Ramirez Duque and Pelaez Lopez operated front companies for Bermudez Suaza in Colombia. Luque Aguilera operated front companies based in Spain and Pablo Agustin Meouchi Saade managed front companies for Bermudez Suaza in Mexico. Andre Rodriguez Fernandez helped with logistics inside Mexico.
His organization notoriously sold drugs to war torn parts of Africa including the Congo and Sierra Leone destined to end up in the hands of warlords. These warlords would use the drugs to increase their hold over their soldiers.
Pedro Antonio Bermudez Suaza was arrested in Mexico City in 2008. The Mexican Government was reluctant to extradite Bermudez Suaza to New York to face trail, waiting two years to extradite him. The Mexican government eventually capitulated and Bermudez Suaza was extradited to the United States June 15, 2010.
|On his way to NYC|
Through his years of smuggling Pedro Antonio Bermudez Suaza amassed a fortune. When it was all said and done more than 150 million dollars in drug proceeds would be seized and a major broker of cocaine to the Sinaloa Cartel would cease to be. Bermudez Suaza had managed to successfully navigate the treacherous path of an international drug trafficker for over two decades without being caught or killed, a success in the underground world of the cartels.
In most drug cases in Mexico the proceeds from illicit gains are rarely taken after a criminal goes to prison but in the case of Pedro Antonio Bermudez Suaza nearly all of his assets were accounted for. This is only possible if a launderer has began to work with the law enforcement. With that being said authorities seized 30 luxurious properties, 35 ranches, three airplanes and 76 commercial properties, among others. Also seized was a collection of 18 antique cars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
He was also the owner or part owner in the following businesses; Air Taxi Antioqueño Agroganadera Los Santos, Group Llanogrande in Rionegro, Diego Aristzabal M Y. Asociados LTDA, Ganareca S.A., Renta Liquida S.A.S., Luis B Mejia Asociados Y CIA LTDA., Fumagro S.A., Broker CMS el Agrario S.A., Bosques De Agua S.A.S., Roseville Investments S.A., Tremaine Corp., Gruopo Iruna S.A. De C.V., Industrailzadora Purecorn, S.A. De C.V., Grupo Jezinne, S.A. De C.V.. In addition he was also named in the US indictment of the Sinaloan Cartel so there is some overlap in regards to front companies. Several of these businesses are still active today.