Several security cameras in the sector of the Hayuelos shopping center (western Bogotá) captured the exact moment in which an armored Toyota truck, attached to the National Protection Unit (UNP), it was delivered to Manuel Antonio Castañeda Bernal.
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It was around 2:30 in the afternoon on Friday, December 9. Fourteen hours later, the Cauca Police seized the gray Toyota, with 168 packages of cocaine, at a checkpoint located on the road that leads from La Plata to Popayán.
The one who was driving was Castañeda himself, known as the ‘Capi’ among popular artists, members of the Police and UNP officials.
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According to the record of the capture and seizure of the drug, the drug driver – who appears in records as a former police subintendent – he posed as a UNP driver and offered 300 million pesos to be released.
The ‘magic lullaby’
Since he did not succeed, he began to send messages assuring that he was ready to collaborate to dismantle entrenched mafias in the UNP, entity in charge of protecting threatened leaders, former presidents, congressmen, officials and individuals.
A month earlier, as revealed by TIME, “Capi” asked the director of that entity, Augusto Rodríguez, for an appointment.
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He introduced himself as an artist entrepreneur and told Rodríguez – who leads an anti-corruption crusade at the UNP – who had been paying 7 million pesos a month for the illegal rental of security schemes. In addition, he told her that he was willing to collaborate with the authorities.
However, in his confession – which Rodríguez immediately forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office – he did not mention that some schemes are used to move drug shipments, taking advantage of the fact that the UNP vans are not requisitioned by the Public Force.
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“Castañeda, or the drug driver, is recognized among UNP officials, members of the Police, actors and singers. His wife, Nasly Viviana Toro Hernández, leads a campaign where she always requests the accompaniment of the Police and Manuel accompanies her.”, said a close friend of the captured.
The wife of ‘Capi’ is known as the ‘Nana Magic’, and leads ‘Get a 10’, a campaign in which they deliver school kits and food, accompanied by actors and singers. She would also be the woman who accompanied him when she received the truck in Hayuelos.
The ‘Nana’ appears as a representative of the companies Bumeran Logistics, Transport and Events; Distribuidora de Belleza Surtitodo and Boom Logística y Eventos SAS The latter is dedicated to the rental and leasing of vehicles and live musical shows.
Witnesses say that under that company name, which was active until March 2021, the drug driver rented high-end armored cars. One of these is a metallic black BMW that the firm Mobility Solutions Group rented from John Manuel León Delgadillo, and he gave it to Castañeda.
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León sued Castañeda for not returning the BMW in the agreed time.
This episode has drawn the attention of the authorities because, as EL TIEMPO revealed, León is the link between the UNP and Blinsecurity, owner of the truck that fell with the 168 packages of cocaine, a company that now declares itself a victim.
‘He abused my trust’
The UNP reported that the van with the cocaine was assigned to Ronald Rodríguez Rozo, former deputy director of Protection of that entity until August 30. The former official requested urgent protection measures due to an alleged follow-up that they were doing to him.
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Ronald Rodríguez, who began as an escort for the extinct DAS, had kept silent about the episode.
But EL TIEMPO obtained its explanation for the first time.
“I met Castañeda a little over a year ago in a restaurant on the outskirts of Bogotá, where they do popular music shows, one of my hobbies.”, he assured.
And he added that they exchanged phones, Castañeda visited him at the UNP and, in effect, he lent him the truck that Friday with the promise that he would return it around 6 in the afternoon.
“He told me that he needed to pick up an artist at the airport and that he would return it to me that same day. I am one more victim of Castañeda, who, according to information that has become known, has more than 70 complaints for alleged fraud and breach of trust,” added the former official.
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And he admitted that with the loan of the truck he committed an administrative fault that he regrets. In addition, it was not the first time that he lent the vehicle to Castañeda. He also said that he studies with his lawyers the legal actions against “Capi”.
The other links in the network
The director of the UNP, Augusto Rodríguez, told EL TIEMPO that Castañeda appears entering at least eight opportunities. The largest number of visits was in the previous administration on two occasions, to make complaints.
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EL TIEMPO had access to documents and spoke with two human sources who agree that the owners of the cocaine, with the 727 stamp, who was in the Toyota, are a senior police officer and a former senior prosecutor.
Regarding the latter, a witness said that he has been linked to judicial episodes such as the one on August 20, in which a cousin of Castañeda’s was captured with a UNP truck with 400 kilograms of marijuana.
The vehicle was traveling near Pereira and was assigned to the security scheme of ex-FARC member Yesid Alexander Torres Rojas, alias Mata Caballos. Now it is known that that day Castañeda was in another truck, apparently assigned to a councilor from Saravena, Arauca, in the company of ‘Nana Magic’.
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By then, Ronald Rodríguez was still Deputy Director of Protection at the UNP.
In the second episode, cameras from Videos collected in Cauca show that the van seized with cocaine was escorted by a caravan of official vehicles, which diverted at the time of the checkpoint.
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The tracking shows when the Toyota stops at a point known as Gabriel López, on the Inzá-Cauca highway, where it would have been loaded with cocaine.
The union chapter
In the meeting with the director of the UNP, Castañeda would have spoken of the alleged participation of the head of one of the entity’s unions in the network that illegally rented security schemes.
He even assured that they tried to kill him a few weeks ago in the Nuestro Bogotá shopping center, when they summoned him to a meeting with that alleged trade unionist.
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This is Wilson Devia, president of the largest union of the UNP and Temporary Unions, who in dialogue with EL TIEMPO categorically denied the accusations.
In addition, Devia assured that he does not have the power to assign these schemes and that he has been denouncing irregularities within the entity; He also said that Castañeda has at least 37 complaints for theft of armored trucks.
“I met him in 2019 because he asked me to rent him two armored trucks to move artists. At that moment I did him the favor of renting private vans from the rental company of an acquaintance, he still owes me part of that money,” said Devia.
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And about some audios that circulated, where he was supposedly talking to Castañeda about the illegal rental of a security scheme, he said that they were referring to the business of private vans.
Castaneda’s Capture It has already been legalized and is protected by the authorities, who seek to establish whether it is true that he is going to collaborate or is it a judicial strategy.
(Check here all the articles of the Investigative Unit of EL TIEMPO)
At the moment, neither his wife – the so-called ‘Nana Magic’ – nor the former deputy director Ronald Rodríguez have been summoned by the authorities.
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