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Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha (14 May 1947-15 December 1989), also known as The Mexican, was a Colombian drug trafficker who dominated the emerald smuggling routes during the late 1980s. He was one of the founders of the Medellin Cartel in 1976, and he was taken down by the Search Bloc in 1989.

Biography

Rodriguez Gacha and two of his hitmen

Jose Rodriguez Gacha, contrary to his nickname, was born in Colombia. He became known as "the Mexican" due to his love of tequila and sombreros, and he was known as a fierce, short man with a Napoleon complex. Rodriguez was one of the key players in the drug trade in Colombia during the 1970s, dominating the emerald smuggling routes. Rodriguez was not afraid to take out his enemies; even his partners were killed. In 1979, he had his partner Guido Escobedo assassinated to take control of the emerald trade.

Cocaine trafficker

Gacha meeting with other Medellin leaders, 1981

Rodrigo Gacha decided to work with Carlos Lehder, the Ochoa Brothers, and Pablo Escobar in forming the "Medellin Cartel" to ensure profits for all of the partners in the business, as Gacha believed that the price for buying cocaine would be cheaper if all of the drug lords banded together and split the price between them. Gacha was one of the men who arranged for Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara's 1984 assassination, leading to a crackdown on drug traffickers in America and Colombia.

Downfall

Gacha after being shot by the helicopter

In the late 1980s, US President George H.W. Bush invested millions of dollars in a counteroffensive against the drug lords, and Rodriguez decided to buy several weapons. He negotiated a large purchase of weapons at Cartagena, and he claimed that he was even in talks with some people about buying a missile. In 1989, he headed to oversee the shipment at Cartagena, testing a rocket launcher successfully. Gacha and his son Fredy Rodriguez Celades succeeded in fleeing the ranch at Cartagena before Colonel Horacio Carrillo and the Search Bloc arrived, but they killed the maid first. Gacha and his son fled to a ranch at Tolu, where the Search Bloc chased them. On 15 December 1989, the Search Bloc forces raided the ranch and captured it after heavy losses, and Gacha and his son Fredy attempted to flee in their red Chevy pickup truck. However, a police helicopter sprayed it with fire, killing Fredy and disabling the truck. An angry Gacha left the car and fired off the rest of his pistol shots before repeatedly taunting the helicopter; Carrillo allowed Agent Javier Pena, who was on the helicopter, to decide his fate. While Pena originally wanted Gacha dead, Pena ordered the gunner to "give him lead", and Gacha was shot in the head and chest by the minigun and killed. 

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