The US court case of Horacio Triana, known as Colombia’s “emerald czar,” will focus on drug trafficking charges and is unlikely to shine a light on a complex web of links between the country’s emerald industry and a range of criminal interests.
In November, Triana pled guilty before a Florida court on charges of sending cocaine to the United States and killing witnesses scheduled to testify against him. He also promised to collaborate with judicial investigations.
In August 2017, the United States requested Triana’s extradition along with that of José Rogelio Nieto and the brothers Pedro, Omar and Gilberto Rincón. All of them were leading figures within Colombia’s lucrative emerald industry and were accused of working with paramilitary groups to traffic drugs to the United States through a network that extended into Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Triana was first arrested in Boyacá on charges of aggravated homicide and illegal possession of weapons for an attack against Hernando Sánchez, one of his emerald trafficking rivals. He was extradited in January 2019. His main business associate, Pedro Rincón, alias “Pedro Orejas,” has been held in a US prison since August 2018.
InSight Crime Analysis
While Horacio Triana is the first emerald magnate to be extradited to the United States, his court case is unlikely to reveal the murky schemes which plague the Colombian emerald industry. According to his plea deal, Triana has only pled guilty to conspiring to distribute cocaine in the US.
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