Wilver Villegas-Palomino Added to FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List
U.S. Department of State Narcotics Rewards Program offering up to $5 million
Today, the FBI announced the addition of Wilver Villegas-Palomino to its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Villegas-Palomino is a ranking member of the National Liberation Army or Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), a transnational criminal organization and foreign terrorist organization. The U.S. Department of State Narcotics Rewards Program is offering up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest and/or his conviction.
Villegas-Palomino directs the ELN Northeastern War Front (ELN-NEWF), one of six regional ELN war fronts that controls the Catatumbo area of Colombia and Venezuela. The ELN-NEWF oversees multiple laboratories that collectively produce an estimated 200 tons of cocaine annually that are transported worldwide.
The ELN uses proceeds from Villegas-Palomino’s drug trafficking enterprise to fund terrorist attacks, launch sabotage operations, buy political influence, and engage in other malign activities designed to destabilize government institutions and subvert U.S. national security and law enforcement interests in the region.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for Villegas-Palomino in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, on February 13, 2020, after he was charged with narcoterrorism, international cocaine distribution conspiracy, and international cocaine distribution.
“Villegas-Palomino continues to present a grave threat to the community through his cocaine and narcoterrorist empire,” said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Nick Zarro, who is overseeing the investigation out of the FBI Houston Field Office. “Cocaine produced in Villegas-Palomino’s laboratories ultimately ends up on U.S. streets, plaguing local communities and driving spikes in violent crime.”
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a federal drug enforcement program overseen by the U.S. Attorney General and the Department of Justice, has named Villegas-Palomino a consolidated priority organization target (CPOT), which is reserved for those involved in the most significant international drug trafficking operations affecting the United States.
Zarro hopes the poster and publicity will move hesitant associates to come forward with tips. "Continued publicity of Villegas-Palomino’s status on this list will disrupt his ability to travel abroad, restrict his ability to meet with international drug trafficking associates, and hamper his ability to recruit new members—and will generate leads and intelligence for law enforcement," he said.
Villegas-Palomino is 41 years old and has black hair and brown eyes. He is between 5’7” and 5’9” tall and weighs about 190 pounds. He is a Colombian national and speaks Spanish. Aliases include Carlos El Puerco (“Carlos the Hog”), El Puerco, Wilver Villegas, and Wilver Palomino.
If you have any information concerning Villegas-Palomino, please contact the FBI via WhatsApp (neither a government-operated nor government-controlled platform) at (281) 630-0330. You can also contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or you can submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.