At the height of the Cali Cartel's reign, they were cited as having control over 90% of the world's cocaine market and were said to be directly responsible for the growth of the cocaine market in Europe, where they also controlled 90% of the market.
The group originally assembled as a ring of kidnappers known as Las Chemas, which was led by Luis Fernando Tamayo Garcia.
In order to launder the incoming money of the trafficking operations, the Cali cartel heavily invested its funds into legitimate business ventures as well as front companies to mask the money.
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As a consequence of the Cali Cartel's ownership of the chain, from January 1988 to May 4, 1990 it was targeted for 85 bombings by Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel, leaving a combined total of 27 people dead. Petersburg Immobilien und Beteiligungs AG or SPAG is a real estate company registered in Germany in 1992 and suspected by German police of facilitating Saint Petersburg mobsters, Colombian drug lords, and transcontinental money laundering. They want to shove the whole affair under the carpet.
The company's co-founder Rudolf Ritter was arrested in Liechtenstein for laundering cocaine cash for the Cali cartel. I think that [FSB chief] Nikolai Patrushev is coming from the 15th to the 17th. Political violence was largely discounted by the Cali Cartel, as the threat of violence often sufficed.
The group developed and organized itself into multiple "cells" that appeared to operate independently yet reported to a "celeno" (manager), who reported to Jorge Alberto Rodríguez, who in turn reported back to Cali.
In the mid-1980s, Jorge formed an independent drug cell called The 400 Cartel, which grew to eventually oversee all shipments and distributions of narcotics imported into the United States by the Cali Cartel.
In an interview with Time, Gilberto admitted to money's being laundered through the bank; however, he attributed the process to only legal actions.
The laundering, which Gilberto states was "in accordance with Panamanian law", is what led to the US authorities' pursuing him.
The threat of death also hung over those who made mistakes.
It is believed the cartel would often kill junior members who made gross errors.).
Las Chemas were implicated in numerous kidnappings including those of two Swiss citizens: a diplomat, Herman Buff, and a student, Zack "Jazz Milis" Martin.