Is This Mystery Woman the DEA's New El Chapo?
Well, maybe...
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2016 3:14 PM CST
Maria Teresa Osorio de Serna   (DEA)

(Newser) – With El Chapo currently in custody (thanks, Sean Penn!), the DEA has a new most wanted fugitive. Maybe. The Houston Chronicle—citing a BBC Mundo story—claims a "mysterious" Colombian woman named Maria Teresa Osorio de Serna now tops the DEA's list of wanted fugitives. According to the DEA, Osorio de Serna, who is believed to be around 65 years old, is wanted on suspicion of money laundering and cocaine conspiracy. The Chronicle reports she is "believed to be a major player in Colombia's former Medellin Cartel." And that's about all anyone knows about her. "She is practically a ghost," the Chronicle quotes BBC Mundo. So how did Osorio de Serna find herself as the DEA's most wanted fugitive? Well ... she probably didn't, according to InSight Crime.

BBC Mundo based its story entirely on Osorio de Serna's spot on the DEA's sparsely populated list of wanted international fugitives. In fact, the list contains only one other person: a man who goes by "Coach" and is wanted in connection with heroin distribution. The DEA admits the list is incomplete, and InSight Crime found a number of other fugitive lists that contradict each other or are noticeably out of date. On top of that, Osorio de Serna has no criminal record in Colombia, isn't apparently wanted by Colombian authorities, and has no reward issued for her by the US government. "Ultimately, the BBC Mundo story tells us less about about a shadowy figure in Colombia's underworld than it does about the organizational weaknesses of US anti-drug authorities," writes InSight Crime's David Gagne.