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Jorge Luis Ochoa Vazquez


Jorge Luis Ochoa Vazquez was a drug trafficker from Medellin, Colombia who helped found the notorious Medellin Cartel in the late 1970s. The cartel's key members were Pablo Escobar, Carlos Lehder, Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, Jorge Ochoa and his brothers Juan David and Fabio.

Jorge Luis Ochoa Vazquez was the son of Fabio Ochoa Restrepo whose family was in the cattle-breeding and family restaurant businesses until they began trafficking narcotics during the mid 1970s. In 1976, Ochoa assumed leadership of what was basically an Ochoa family operation. Starting at least in 1978, his Miami contact was Rafael Cardona Salazar. Between 1981 and 1982 an alliance between the Ochoa family, Pablo Escobar, Carlos Lehder, and Rodriguez Gacha strengthened into what eventually became known as the Medellin Cartel. The traffickers cooperated in the manufacturing, distribution and marketing of their cocaine. In 1981, the kidnapping of Ochoas sister, Martha Nieves Ochoa Vasquez, by the Colombian guerilla organization M-19, which had previously kidnapped a son of Severo Abelardo Ortega consolidated their alliance. The traffickers formed a group known as Muerte a Secuestradores (MAS), (which means "Death to Kidnappers" in English) announcing the imminent execution of any guerrilla kidnappers. After being threatened with reprisals, Martha Nieves was released by M-19 unharmed several months later.

On April 30, 1984, Colombian Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, who had crusaded against the Medellin cartel, was assassinated by a gang of motorcycle thugs. President Belisario Betancur who had previously opposed extradition of drug traffickers to the United States, announces "We will extradite Colombians." Carlos Lehder was the first to be put on the list. The crackdown forced Jorge Ochoa, Escobar and Rodriguez Gacha to flee to Panama for several months. While in Panama, Ochoa and Pablo Escobar met with former Colombian president Alfonso Lopez Michelson and offered their fortunes to avoid extradition. President Belisario Betancur refused, and a few months later, Escobar was indicted for Lara Bonilla's murder while the Ochoa brothers and Rodriguez Gacha are named as material witnesses.

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