Ivan Urdinola Grajales, also known as “El Enano,” was born on December 1, 1960, in El Dovio, Colombia.
He was one of the most powerful men in the Norte del Valle Cartel. He was highly regarded because he was generous to the communities in the area where he operated, but he was also feared for being ruthless with his enemies.
As a demonstration of being a man of his word, he decided to execute 35 members of his security and personal protection team after a brief summary trial because they were involved in a plot to steal a shipment of heroin.
He threw the bodies into the Cauca River with the intention of them appearing downstream and intimidating anyone who might be thinking of affecting his interests.
His time in this world came to an end on February 24, 2002, when he died in his cell due to a heart attack.
How was the youth of Ivan Urdinola?
At a very young age, Ivan gave up his aspiration to obtain a university degree. He believed that there was a lot of money on the streets waiting for an owner, so he decided not to waste time getting a degree that would serve him little in a country with a perennial economic recession, where the only factory that operated full-time was the factory of the poor.
At the age of 20, he decided to set up a refrigeration plant in Cartago, which, in a few years, became the monopoly of meat distribution in the area, extending to neighboring cities such as Cali and Buenaventura. The business was profitable, allowed him to live comfortably, but he wanted more.
One day, he met Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, who caught his attention. He gained their trust, and immediately he was inducted into the entrepreneurial initiative that would give him access to the comfortable life he always wanted.
Once confident about how to handle the business, he decided to have his own network of airports, planes, both internal and external collaborators with a new product in mind: poppy flower as a raw material for the production of heroin.
Family Life of Ivan Urdinola
El enano, “The Dwarf” was married to Lorena Henao Montoya, sister of Orlando Henao, better known as “The man in the Overall”, with whom he had three children and two boys whom they took out of abandonment.
Where did Ivan Urdinola Operate?
He chose the North of Valle del Cauca as the base of operations and agreed on a strategic partnership with the Rodriguez brothers, but he came across the FARC-ELN binomial as an alternate and de facto government in the area. His allergy to anything smelling of communism motivated him to attack them with weapons, becoming responsible for the murder of several leaders of the nefarious Marxist-oriented tandem that used violence to gain political power in impoverished Colombia.
As his business prospered, he dedicated himself to buying shares in companies dedicated to different sectors of the economy through straw men. The range of businesses was so broad, ranging from tropical fruit distributors in the international market to airlines, banks, and hotels operating legally in the country, using the funds to recover and expand their activities.
How was Iván Urdinola captured?
After several months of intelligence work, in April 1992, the police finally located the residence of the drug lord. Surprisingly, when they knocked on the door, Urdinola himself answered and without any resistance, he asked the officer in charge of the operation for a few minutes to shower, change clothes, and say goodbye to his wife and children.
The reason for Urdinola’s calmness was because he was confident that the Colombian state did not have any serious charges against him, and in case he was proven to be a drug trafficker, he could not be extradited to the United States because at that time, extradition was not in effect.
Urdinola was sentenced by a lenient judge to 17 years in prison, which was reduced to 4 years due to procedural benefits, during which he was regularly visited by his wife, turning the prison into a personal hideout equipped to his liking where he spent his days with uncommon comforts for someone in his legal status.
How did Iván Urdinola Grajales die?
Iván was a man who did not take care of himself; he drank a lot of liquor, especially whiskey, and ate a lot of fatty foods. All of this took a toll on him, and in February 2002, he was found lifeless on the floor of his cell.
There was speculation in many media outlets about the possibility of poisoning by a cook and even that his own wife had ordered his death. However, all of this is strongly denied by YouTuber Jhon Jairo Velásquez, alias “Popeye,” who maintains that an autopsy carried out by experts determined that a heart attack was the cause of his death.
Iván Urdinola and Television
Ivan appears in several TV series, including:
- In “The Snitch Cartel,” he appears under the alias Julio Trujillo, and the actor who plays him is named Fernando Arévalo.
- In the series “Alias JJ,” he appears under the name Ivan Urrego, and the actor who portrays him is named Toto Vega.