The Head of Argentina's Biggest Black Market Had A "Scarface"-Style Shootout
Jorge Castillo, kingpin behind "La Salada", one of the biggest black markets in the Americas was arrested after a hail of gunfire was traded between him and Bueno Aires law enforcement early Thursday morning.
At a raid at his mansion outside Buenos Aires, Castillo reportedly took a shotgun to member of police forces executing an arrest warrant for him for extortion and numerous racketeering charges, but was taken down with no casualties. Subsequent raids of Castillo's associates revealed an arsenal of small arms and ammunition used to intimidate and extort the renters of stalls in his market.
VIDEO: The Rise and Fall of Jorge Castillo
In a interview with an Argentine radio station, Sebastián Scalera, district attorney in Lomas de Zamora, confirmed Castillo's aggression and that Castillo was being investigated for extortion and tax evasion from masses of cash flowing through the market.
"What they did was to permanently obstruct the traffic around the fair, which prevented their neighbors from leaving their homes or returning to their homes, but they also exploited Illegal charges, charged payers to stay in place, private security, cleaning payment, payment of a contribution bonus and parking payment," said Scalera.
The European Union and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have flagged "La Salada" as one of the biggest centers of informal economy that "openly traded pirated or smuggled materials" in the world. The Argentine Confederation of the Medium-sized Enterprises (CAME) reported that illegal trade moves 4.28 billion pesos each year.
Castillo presents himself as a legitimate business man. He controls 14 companies engaged in real estate, livestock raising and soybeans, but his real payday came from his black market. There are over 15,000 stalls and 8,000 people working in what could be considered a small neighborhood that makes up La Salada.
VIDEO: The Brutal Treatment of La Salada Merchants