“Socalj” for Borderland Beat
|Herlinda Bobadilla, 61, was arrested in the mountains of Honduras after a shoot-out in which her 32-year-old son, Tito Montes, was killed.
Honduran authorities arrested accused cartel leader Herlinda Bobadilla on Sunday, following an extradition request for her and her sons by the United States. US authorities had requested that she and her sons Tito and Juan Carlos Montes be extradited to the US and had offered a $5 million USD reward for each of them.
Police in Honduras says they received many tip-offs after the US State Department offered the multi-million dollar reward for the three persons just two weeks ago. They say they tracked down Herlinda Bobadilla and her sons Tito and Juan Carlos in the mountains of Colón province using aerial surveillance. Special forces were deployed to the area and following an “intense confrontation”, they arrested Herlinda Bobadilla.
In a statement, Honduran police said one member of the clan had been killed “when he opened fire on special ops agents”. The police chief later confirmed that the killed clan member was Tito Montes.
|Juan Carlos Montes-Bobadilla is still wanted.|
On October 8, 2015, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Tito Montes-Bobadilla, aka Alejandro Montes-Bobadilla or Pimpi, 32; Herlinda Bobadilla, aka Erlinda Ramos-Bobadilla or Chinda, 61; Juan Carlos Montes-Bobadilla, aka Mono, 35; Noe Montes-Bobadilla aka Ton, 38; and two others with conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. The Department of State is offering $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Tito Montes-Bobadilla, Herlinda Bobadilla, or Juan Carlos Montes Bobadilla. The three Bobadillas are currently fugitives and are believed to be armed and dangerous.
Today, the group still benefits from connections with one of Colombia’s top trafficking organizations: the Urabeños. According to La Prensa, the Montes Bobadilla clan is the group’s top partner in Honduras, receiving, processing, and in some cases producing cocaine in collaboration with the Colombian group. But transport groups have gained more autonomy in recent years, as some of the larger organizations in Mexico have splintered and as more drugs have begun to flow to Europe.
The Montes Bobadilla clan may even be cultivating coca and producing cocaine in Honduras. Two large coca plantations were discovered in March in the hillsides of Irina, a municipality in the Colón department that has become a hotbed for coca crops. Both farms allegedly belonged to the family clan.
The second time, he was released into house arrest on medical grounds. He died of a heart attack in November 2014. His brother Noe Montes took over leadership of the clan until 2017 when he was arrested and extradited to the US.
With Noe Montes sentenced to life in prison, control of the Montes cartel passed over to Tito, Juan Carlos, and their mother, Herlinda Bobadilla, police say. According to prosecutors, Ms. Bobadilla had over the years become ever more involved in the family’s illicit business, from first assisting her sons in the importation, transportation, and distribution of cocaine to finally becoming a joint leader of the clan.
Her arrest comes at a time when the role of Honduras in international drug trafficking is being highlighted in a number of high-profile cases.
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