Everything you need to know about Santiago Gallón

He was related to Andrés Escobar’s murder and is required by a New York court for crimes related to drug trafficking

He was related to Andrés Escobar’s murder and is required by a New York court for crimes related to drug trafficking

The Technical Investigation Body (CTI, in Spanish) of the Colombian Prosecutor's Office captured Juan Santiago Gallón Henao in the city of Cúcuta. Gallón is a drug trafficker linked to the murder of footballer Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga. The reason for his capture is a possible connection with drug trafficking networks and at the request of a court in New York.

He is expected to arrive to Bogotá for the legalization of his capture and the imputation of charges. Last November, 18 people related to the same traffic network, to which Gallón Henao is linked, were captured by the Prosecutor's Office. They operated by hiding cocaine in animal food, fertilizers, and sand to send it to Europe.

What was the role of Santiago Gallón in the death of Escobar?

On July 2, 1994, Andrés Escobar was in his native city, Medellín, in a nightclub. There, he met the brothers Gallón, Santiago and Pedro David, known drug traffickers who financed paramilitaries like Carlos Castaño, head of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). The two brothers rebuked the footballer for his performance in the last match of the Colombian soccer team in the FIFA World Cup.

In that World Cup, Colombia faced Group A which included Romania, Switzerland, and the host, the United States. The South American team lost its first two games against the Romanians (by 3 goals to 1) and the Americans (by 2 to 1). It was in this second match that Escobar accidentally deflected a ball towards the soccer goal guarded by Óscar Córdoba. The subsequent victory against the Swiss was not enough for the Colombians and they were eliminated, last in the group.

Ten days after the elimination, Escobar was arguing with the Gallón brothers and the fight continued throughout the night. When the soccer player was about to leave the place, he went to find his car, which was close to the brothers, who insulted him once again. Without enduring the harassment on the part of those men, he returned the insult. Then, the driver of the Gallón, Humberto Muñoz, left his employer's vehicle and shot Escobar six times.

Minutes later he died, while being taken to the emergency room. The news spread quickly and multiple versions began to circulate. Those responsible, Gallón and their driver, began to plot an alibi and denounced the next day of the murder that their vans had been stolen.

However, a witnesses of the incident described the characteristics of the van to the authorities investigating the case. It was easy to connect the drug traffickers with the crime.

Hours later, the authorities already knew all the details of the case and there was no lie by the Gallón or Muñoz enough to divert them. Then, the brothers confessed their participation and the driver the murder. For this reason, the brothers paid fifteen months of house arrest for covering up the crime and Muñoz was sentenced to 43 years in prison, of which he only paid eleven. Since 2005, the murder is free.

In 2009, after a long period of activity in cattle raising, the Gallons were handed over to the authorities for financing paramilitary groups.

LatinAmerican Post | Iván Parada Hernández

Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza

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