In seven years, Wilder Sánchez Farfán, alias ‘Gato’, went from being the right hand of Telmo Castro to one of the most important drug traffickers in the world.
June 6, 2013 was the first time that Wilder Sánchez Farfán appeared on the scene. That day the authorities arrested him in the Galaxia operation, when he tried to send almost half a ton of cocaine to Mexico, from El Empalme (Guayas).
At that time, alias ‘Gato’ was part of an organization led by Telmo Castro, former captain of the Ecuadorian Army and contact for the Sinaloa Cartel in the country. Castro was murdered in the Litoral Penitentiary, at the end of 2019.
Now, alias ‘Gato’ is one of the main suppliers of cocaine to the Sinaloa Cartel and has started a relationship with the Jalisco New Generation cartel.
The authorities also implicate him in the implementation of five laboratories for the production of drugs, specifically cocaine, located and destroyed by the Police between May 2010 and April 2012.
A year later, a Guayas Criminal Court sentenced Castro to 10 years and eight months in prison, and Sánchez Farfán to three years. In December 2014, the Court of Guayas increased the sentence for alias ‘Gato’ to four years.
But in January 2016, he was released from prison thanks to the ‘pre-release benefit.’ Since then, he has not been captured again, and in the years that followed—according to the United States Government— he has become one of the most important drug traffickers in the world.
High level narco prompts Presidential action
On February 10, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned the Ecuadorian Wilder Emilio Sánchez Farfán and the Mexican Miguel Ángel Valdez Ruiz in accordance with the Executive Order 14059.
The order was signed by Joe Biden, President of the United States, in December 2021. It refers to the imposition of sanctions on foreign persons involved in the global illicit drug trade.
Sánchez Farfán and Valdez are accused of working with the main Mexican cartel to traffic cocaine to the United States. And under the sanction, the freezing of all the properties and interests in the assets of both, which are within the United States, was ordered. Regarding the Ecuadorian, the United States Government said that he has participated in activities that contribute to the international proliferation of illicit drugs and their production methods.
“Sánchez Farfán is one of the most important drug traffickers in the world today. Working from Guayaquil, Ecuador, he obtains several tons of cocaine from manufacturing laboratories in southern Colombia and transports this cocaine from Colombia to Ecuador via ground transportation,” according to the US Treasury Department.
The report says alias ‘Gato’ cocaine shipments are dispatched from Ecuador to Central America, Mexico and the United States, via private planes, ocean vessels, commercial containers and land vehicles.
In addition, the Ecuadorian drug trafficker is an important source that supplies cocaine for the Sinaloa Cartel. For this, he uses partners in Mexico who facilitate shipments of several tons of cocaine to members of the Cartel that operate in Culiacán, Manzanillo and Ensenada within Mexico.
Additionally, according to the United States, Wilder Sánchez has sent representatives of his organization to Mexico for meetings with members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
His objective is to establish a working relationship to import large amounts of cocaine into Mexico from Ecuador.
The case in the United States
In Ecuador, Sánchez Farfán does not have any open criminal proceedings. A police source says that they are investigating him in a confidential manner and his current location is unknown.
But the United States is looking for him because his name jumped out after a cocaine seizure that occurred in Panama in 2019.
In the Southern District of California, a court has charged him with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Eight other people were accused slong with him. Only four names are public. In addition to alias ‘Gato,’ the Mexican Miguel Valdez, who is his contact with the Sinaloa cartel, was also on the list.
Another name on the list is Miguel Chung Núñez, who has Costa Rican and Ecuadorian nationality.
Chung Núñez was arrested in Panama in 2019, while trying to transport two tons of cocaine to the United States. He is the brother-in-law of alias ‘Capi,’ one of the leaders of the dangerous criminal gang Los Choneros.
The fourth public name in this case is that of Norberto Muriel Castrillón, a Colombian who is in the process of being extradited to the United States.
According to the charges, from an unknown date through October 2019, the defendants conspired to distribute cocaine to the United States from Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, and other countries.
In the case documents, it is stated that after a possible conviction, the nine defendants must cede to the United States all their rights, titles and interests of the assets that were constituted or derived directly or indirectly from drug trafficking.