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Book Review: The Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel

By Lisa Sweetingham
LA Weekly​

William C. Rempel, who for 36 years worked as an investigative reporter and editor at the L.A. Times, has written the book At the Devil’s Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel, which came out last month. The insider in question is Jorge Salcedo, the former head of security for the Cali Cartel in Colombia, who secretly turned on his employer in the late ’90s by becoming an informant for the DEA.

Rempel discusses and signs his book at Vroman’s Bookstore tonight, but if you can’t make it to Pasadena, here are seven astounding revelations about Colombian drug lords from the book.

7. The vicious blood feud between the Cali Cartel in the south (headed by the Rodríguez Orejuela brothers) and the Medellín cartel in the north (Pablo Escobar) all started in the late ’80s in New York City, when a pair of mid-level cocaine traffickers had a fatal feud over a woman. The dead man’s friends were allies of Escobar. The shooter sought sanctuary with Cali boss Hélmer “Pacho” Herrera. When neither side would back down, Escobar vowed to his former comrades: “Then this is war — and I’m going to kill every one of you sons of bitches.”

6. Herrera, the youngest of the four Cali godfathers, oversaw the most brutal wing of killers in the entire cartel. He was also openly gay, looked as if he had just stepped off the pages of GQ, and lived in an all-white compound with white marble floors, white walls and ceilings, and white leather furniture.

To read more click here.


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