Colombian authorities capture illegal mining capo

Following three failed attempts, navy forces operating in the town of Timbiquí, in Colombia’s southwestern province of Cauca, apprehended a big fish: José Didier Cadavid Salgado, who is considered to be one of the major illegal mining capos in the country.

According to a press release sent out by the National Prosecutor's Office, Cadavid Salgado was initially arrested for carrying false identification documents.

However, while investigating him, authorities realized he was wanted for the crimes of conspiracy, illicit enrichment, financing terrorism, environmental pollution caused by illegal mineral resource extraction and other criminal liabilities for damages caused to the environment in the Pacific coast of the Cauca and Nariño provinces.

In detail, he is accused of paying millions of pesos to armed groups in order to “safely” operate his illegal mining business.

The own Prosecutor’s Office states that his influence in the area is so strong that people in Timbiquí rallied around the police station where he was being held in custody, in an attempt to free him up.

To avoid further confrontations, he was flown to Popayán, the province’s capital, where a judge put him in jail.

Most of the charges laid against Cadavid Salgado are connected to environmental violations. According to authorities, as a result of his activities and those of other illegal miners, mercury and cyanide levels in the Timbiquí river are so high that neither water nor fish coming from the stream are fit for human consumption.