“Ivan” for Borderland Beat
He trafficked with mafias from Mexico, Albania, Spain and Colombia. He came to negotiate with the dissidents and the DEA caught him.
DEA agents participated in the capture of “El Gato Farfán” in Pasto and his subsequent transfer by plane to Bogotá. PHOTO COURTESY POLICE
They say that cats always land on their feet, but the mess that “El Gato Farfan”, Ecuador’s most wanted drug trafficker, is in only bodes ill for him in a US prison.
This 42-year-old criminal, named Wilder Emilio Sánchez Farfán, was captured last Thursday in a joint operation by security agencies from three countries, when he was driving a van on the Pan-American Highway near Pasto.
He was moving with apparent tranquility on this side of the border, using a false Colombian identity card, to meet with “fariano” dissidents of the Oliver Sinisterra front, according to General Olga Salazar, head of the Dijín.
With them, he negotiated the acquisition of cocaine to send to the US, Europe and Africa, in association with powerful drug cartels such as the Sinaloa Cartel (Mexico) and the Devesa Clan (Spain).
His nickname began to reverberate in February 2022, when the DEA and the US Treasury Department made it public.
“Sanchez is one of the most important drug traffickers in the world today. Working out of Guayaquil, Ecuador, he obtains tons of cocaine from laboratories in southern Colombia and brings it to Ecuador via overland transport,” Treasury reported at the time, while sanctioning him by placing him on the Clinton List.
The DEA and the Dijín estimate that he had the capacity to export up to six tons of drugs per month.
The investigation also identified “El Gato Farfan’s” contacts. In Mexico, his liaison was the Mexican Miguel Angel Valdez Ruiz, the right-hand man of drug lord Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.
In Guayaquil, an Albanian was his contact with the European mafias: Artur Rrapaj. And in Colombia, Carlos Landazuri (“El Gringo”), leader of the Oliver Sinisterra dissident group of the FARC, which operates in Nariño.
He was apparently doing business with the latter this week, when the DEA and the Colombian and Ecuadorian police closed the circle on him.
Sanchez was sent by plane to La Picota prison in Bogota. There he is waiting for his extradition proceedings to be resolved, as he has a request from the Southern District Court of California for drug trafficking.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso described what happened as the biggest blow against drug trafficking in recent times in that nation. “The crusade for security continues,” he said, confirming that Sanchez would be extradited directly from Colombia. As the tune goes, “that cat was no good”