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Mateo "Cuca" Moreno (?-1981) was a Chilean drug chemist who was associated with Pablo Escobar's Medellín Cartel. He gained his nickname, meaning "cockroach", from the fact that he survived a massacre of fellow drug dealers by the Chilean Army; he was like a cockroach that had survived a nuclear holocaust.

Moreno introduced cocaine to Colombia, leading to the cocaine trade that dominated the drug world in the 1970s and 1980s.

Moreno felt cheated by Escobar by the early 1980s, and he decided to sell information to the DAS, while he also set up his own operation in Miami with the help of German Zapata. Moreno was executed by Escobar himself due to his betrayal.


Mateo Moreno escaping from his mass grave

Mateo Moreno was born in northern Chile, and he decided to become a drug chemist as Chile became one of the largest drug-producing countries in the world. His wife was unaware of his operation, in which he smuggled both cocaine and LSD and dealt them on the streets. Moreno ran his acid operation in the Atacama Desert region, where it was unlikely to be busted, but he stole from his bosses, making himself a target for both fellow criminals and the government.

Augusto Pinochet's Chilean Army raided his operation site in 1973 and formed a firing squad to massacre the arrested drug dealers. Moreno survived, as no bullets hit him; he was able to escape from the mass grave. Moreno returned home, showered, and told his wife that he was a narco and had to leave the country, and they packed their belongings and left for Colombia.

He arrived there, and he considered working for the Ochoa Brothers or Jose Rodriguez Gacha's operation, but he found the Ochoas to be too soft and Rodriguez to be too hard. Ultimately, he decided to work together with Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel.

Meeting Escobar

Cockroach in 1979

In 1979, Moreno met with Pablo Escobar's cousin Gustavo Gaviria and discussed the sale of cocaine, which was a stranger to Colombia. Moreno was later taken to meet Escobar at a club, and Gaviria, Escobar, and Moreno agreed to head down to Moreno's paste-manufacturing place in the Peruvian jungle. Escobar decided to purchase five kilograms, and Gaviria handled its transportation into Colombia.

He helped them in smuggling the goods into Colombia over the right wheel of the transporting cars, and the money made per trip would be $540K if it was a four-car convoy. This led to the Medellín Cartel becoming extremely wealthy, making hundreds of millions off of the cocaine trade.


An angry Pablo Escobar shooting at Moreno's dead body

Moreno and the Medellín Cartel became very wealthy, but Moreno felt cheated out of the business, as Escobar bought himself a mansion while Moreno was stuck in the rainforests of Colombia running drug labs. Escobar promised to give Moreno a swimming pool and Brazilian whores at every lab, but Moreno became angry.

One night, Gustavo warned Moreno that he should not disrespect Escobar, as Moreno said that the two Colombians would still be smuggling cigarettes in the jungle if it was not for Moreno's introduction of cocaine. Moreno decided to get his fair share by informing DAS colonel Jose Luis Herrera that Escobar hid the cocaine in spare tires, leading to 390 kilograms ($4.0M) being confiscated by the government.

An angry Escobar headed to Herrera and offered him a higher $1.0M bribe if he told him who betrayed him, and he told him that he would not need to split the $1,000,000 with the traitor if he was killed. Herrera sold Moreno out, and Escobar had his drug dealer German Zapata assassinated in Miami first. He then proceeded to have Moreno and two policemen brought out to him, and he killed the two policemen before shooting Moreno in the head and then several times in the chest.