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Sleeping in the Exclusive SPS Area: Notorious Drug Lord Discovered

Asleep in one of the houses in an exclusive area of San Pedro Sula, Cortés was found yesterday Herbert Gabriel Cruz Haylock, alias the Patron, considered by the Public Ministry as one of the largest and newest maritime drug traffickers. At 6:00 in the morning, elements of the Criminal Investigation Technical Agency (Atic) and the Military police raided the two-story house located in residential El Pedregal. The agents had to force open the main metal gate and the wooden door to enter the target’s bedroom. Operation The Patriarch. The man was in his underwear when he was surprised by the agents who remained inside the residence for nine hours.

The Patron was unarmed. In his home, they found no weapons, drugs, or money, only three vehicles valued at more than three million lempiras. The suspect had recently arrived at the residential complex, which he used occasionally, as well as another house that was raided simultaneously in Jardines del Valle, according to investigations. The house was not equipped with luxuries and lacked maintenance, as is often the case with properties linked to drug trafficking.

Cruz is considered the leader of the Los Isleños structure, which is dedicated to drug trafficking operations in the Bay Islands. This group was dismantled yesterday after having captured Cruz – as a leader – and five other members in raids in San Pedro Sula, Cortés; La Ceiba, Atlantida; and Roatán, Bay Islands. The captured one began his operations in drug trafficking with Carlos Arnaldo Lobo, alias el Negro Lobo, who was extradited on May 9, 2014, to the United States, where he served a 10-year prison sentence and has since been released.

After Lobo’s extradition, Cruz began to operate with his group separately, and in 2018, the authorities began to link him with large shipments of cocaine that arrived in Honduras. Likewise, Cruz operated with capo Wilter Neptalí Blanco, sentenced in the United States to 20 years in prison.

In addition to the ringleader Herbert Gabriel Cruz Haylock, his brother Dimitris Rodolfo Cruz Haylock was captured in La Ceiba, as well as Arnold Alberto Kavanaugh Martínez. While in Roatán, Héctor Doneval Gale Bodden and Jerito Denword Gale Ruiz were arrested, and last night they were brought before a judge with national jurisdiction for drug trafficking crimes. El Patrón had taken over the transportation of large drug shipments since in recent years he had increased his fleet of boats in that island area. The anti-drug agents stated that Los Isleños were in charge of transporting shipments of narcotics that came from Colombia and Venezuela to fishing boats and then taking them to Roatán.

This structure also had the capacity to transport shipments to Belize by sea due to the relationships they have had with other drug trafficking networks in that area. Through them, they moved the drugs to Mexico. For Atic, Los Isleños are responsible for having trafficked around 240 to 340 tons of cocaine in a period of five years that would have left them millionaire profits. The Public Ministry accused seven members of the group, but one of them is a fugitive. In any case, prosecutors are sure that the structure had employed more people to transport the shipments, who were paid small sums of money.

The trafficking capacity of this cartel was consolidated by connections with other drug trafficking organizations in Belize, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Nicaragua, the officials said. Their activity was not limited to maritime movements, as they also received drugs in Piper-type planes from South America. These aircraft landed on runways in Sico, Colón, and then transported the product in fast boats to the Bay Islands.

The drug traffickers who are operating with speed boats and fishing boats in the Bay Islands have taken advantage of the little surveillance that the authorities have due to lack of logistics. The Honduran Naval Force does not have a fleet of vessels to intercept the “gofast” type boats from Colombia and Venezuela, which on the high seas transfer cargo to Honduran fishing boats. Jorge Galindo, spokesperson for Atic, reported that the structure is dedicated to the transportation, transfer, safekeeping, concealment, and distribution of large shipments of drugs that receive by sea and air, coming from Colombia. He added that this cartel began to be investigated after the seizure of 2.5 tons of cocaine (2,523 kilos), which were transported in a tanker in José Santos Guardiola on the island of Roatán on August 25, 2021.

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