Early history and foundationEdit
The cartel's founders, brothers Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela were skilled bank robbers from a relatively well-off social background when compared to other cartel leaders. Using the money earned from the robberies, they began establishing smuggling routes into Mexico and the United States, and started smuggling marijuana into the United States.
However, due to the product's low profit rate and large amounts required to traffic to cover resources, the fledgling group decided to shift their focus to a more lucrative drug, cocaine; jumping headfirst into the cocaine trafficking business in the early 1970s, around the same time as their future rival Pablo Escobar.
Sometime in the early 1970s, the brothers met Escobar in person, and came to an agreement in which the newly formed Cali Cartel will sell cocaine in New York City, leaving Miami to the Medellín Cartel. This agreement proved to be in favour of the Cali Cartel, as New York City had a greater population than Miami, and had the same thirst for cocaine as Miami, despite the city being nearly a 1000 miles away.
In the early 1980s, New York based Colombian drug trafficker Helmer Herrera returned to his home country in order to evade an arrest warrant. Herrera joined the Cali cartel, giving the cartel to use the smuggling routes he developed through Mexico, and in return, he was sent to lead operations in several locations. Herrera was a big earner, and soon, it was decided that he was to be made a partner in leading the cartel.
The brothers established their own bank in Panama in order to launder money from the cocaine distribution ring, and also purchased a chain of drug stores, and owned the Athletico de Cali football team, which during the cartel's zenith was the best Latin American football team.
War with the Medellín cartelEdit
Cali cartel siccario Navegante infiltrated the Medellín Cartel by working as José Rodríguez Gacha's chief security. Navegante supplied the whearabouts of Gacha's location to Javier Peña, resulting in the Search Bloc killing Gacha in 1989.
In 1990, Pablo Escobar met with Helmer 'Pacho' Herrera to discuss a temporary peace treaty in order to fight extradition. The alliance was short-lived, as disputes arose to who would distribute cocaine in Los Angeles. Knowing the Escobar would not allow the Cali cartel to take over Los Angeles, Pacho met with Fabio and Jorge Luis Ochoa, two co-leaders of Escobar's cartel, and decided to collaborate against Escobar. Pacho discovers Escobar's location from journalist Valeria Velez, and ordered his men to bomb the Monaco hotel, where Escobar was staying with his family. The bombing was unsuccessful, and turned Escobar's daughter permanently deaf in one ear.
Pacho then reveals the sexual relationship between Marina Ochoa, the sister of the Ochoa brothers and Gustavo Gaviria: Pablo's cousin and right-hand man. The Ochoa brothers, humiliated by the revelation, sell Gaviria out to Colonel Horacio Carrillo, and surrender to the Colombian police in the counts of illegal importation of animals. Escobar learns the connection between the Ochoa brothers and the Cali cartel through Velez, and sends Poison and a group of hitmen to kill Herrera and several other Cali cartel members in midst of a football match, however, Herrera survives the attempt.
Two years later, both cartels were ready to make peace. Escobar, who was imprisoned in his private prison, sent his two lieutenants Fernando Galeano and Kiko Moncada to settle the dispute over Los Angeles. Herrera agreed to pay $3,000,000, but Galeano and Moncada rise the price to $10,000,000. Escobar, however, felt that his cartel was losing respect from the Cali cartel, orders Moncada to triple the price.
By the end of 1992, Escobar is forced out of his prison, and now in hiding, after it was discovered that he murdered Galeano and Moncada inside his prison. Seeking this oppurtunity, Herrera forms the vigilante group of Los Pepes, comprising of Kiko's wife Judy Moncada, Escobar's former head of security Diego Murillo Bejarano and the brothers Fidel Castaño Gil and Carlos Castaño Gil who led a powerful right-wing paramilitary organization. The group co-ordinated with DEA agent Javier Peña. Peña at one point gave Herrera pictures taken by Steve Murphy shortly after the raid in a nightclub which killed Poison, in order to coerce him into helping the Los Pepes.
Herrera convinced the leader of the Medellin cartel's drug operations in Miami, Lion to turn his operations over to the Cali cartel in exchange for a better deal. After Lion staged a coup against his own organization, he was killed by Navegante on Gilberto's orders, severely weakening Escobar's presence in Miami.
After Escobar's death on 2 December, 1993; the Cali cartel became the most powerful cartel in the country. In 1994, Gilberto announced that the cartel would cease all its drug activities in six months in a surrender deal, and began ramping up production. This announcement shocked many, especially the Norte del Valle cartel, who used this oppurtunity to wage war against the Cali cartel.
The Cali cartel began influencing all forms of the Colombian government, and even had their own team of lawyers. They bribed everyone from top politicians, judges, police officers, military generals and officials, resulting them having unprecedented success which even Escobar couldn't achieve. The cartel even indirectly funded Colombian President Ernesto Samper's presidential campaign.
In addition, the cartel maintained a security division comparable to the Russian KGB, aptly named the Cali KGB, run by Carlo Cordova and Jorge Salcedo. With an ease access to several major telecommunications providers, the Cali KGB could wiretap, track and listen to phonecalls made my nearly every person of interest in Colombia.
It was at this point that the Cali Cartel began to ally themselves with the Mexican Juarez cartel. After Herrera murders Claudio Salazar, he goes to Mexico to lay low, and spent time in Amado Carrillo Fuentes's mansion overlooking El Paso.
The Cali Cartel's growth attracts the attention of the DEA, just like Murphy had warned Herrera years ago. The DEA sends Chris Feistl and Daniel Van Ness to Colombia, where they work under Javier Peña. Feistl and Van Ness track down Carlo Cordova going to a mansion where Gilberto was staying, and Pena gets Colonel Hugo Martinez to raid the mansion. Knowing that the cartel got it's ears within the police, they also dispatch another group of soldiers led by an officer loyal to the cartel to raid another empty mansion. Peña and Trujillo discover Gilberto hiding inside a raised bathtub, and quickly arrest him, stunning the Cali cartel's leadership.
With Gilberto in the pit, his brother Miguel becomes the new leader. Miguel, who has no interest in the surrender deal, kills Cordova, and appoints Salcedo as the new head-of-security, and tells José Santacruz Londoño, the fourth partner who is responsible for operations in New York City to increase production and eliminate local competition.
Unknownbest to others, Salcedo begins to talk to the DEA, and gives away the location of Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, resulting in his arrest. With both the brothers arrested, Herrera and Santacruz decide to surrender, but not before Herrera assaults the Norte del Valle cartel, killing most of the leaders.
The cartel's operations were finally seized when its last leader, Miguel's son David Rodriguez was shot and killed in an ambush by the Norte del Valle cartel. Gilberto and Miguel spent 10 years in prison, before being extradited to the United States. Pacho was shot dead in prison following a football match by the Norte del Valle cartel. Santacruz managed to free himself, and went back to the Castano brothers for help, but they chose to humiliate and beat him to death.