Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Orejuela (born on August 15, 1943, in Mariquita, Tolima) is a Colombian drug lord, formerly one of the leaders of the Cali Cartel, based in the city of Cali. He is the younger brother of Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela. He married Miss Colombia 1974, Marta Lucía Echeverry.
The Rodríguez Orejuela brothers and José Santacruz Londoño formed the Cali cartel in the 1970s. They were primarily involved in marijuana trafficking. In the 1980s they branched out into cocaine trafficking. For a time the Cali Cartel supplied 70% of the United States and 90% of the European cocaine market.
The Cali Cartel was less violent than its rival, the Medellín Cartel. While the Medellín Cartel was involved in a brutal campaign of violence against the Colombian government, the Cali Cartel grew. The cartel was much more inclined toward bribery rather than violence. However, after the demise of the Medellín Cartel the Colombian authorities turned their attention to the Cali cartel. The police campaign against the cartel began in the summer of 1995.
On August 6, 1995, Rodriguez Orejuela was arrested when the Colombian National Police broke down the door of his apartment (Hacienda Buenos Aires) in the exclusive Normandia neighborhood in Cali, Colombia and found him hiding in a secret closet. Rodriguez Orejuela was not eligible for extradition to the U.S. for crimes committed prior to December 16, 1997. However, while he was detained in Colombia, Rodriguez Orejuela continued to engage in drug trafficking. As a result the United States requested his extradition.
On March 11, 2005, Rodriguez Orejuela was extradited to the United States. His brother had already been extradited. On September 26, 2006, both Gilberto and Miguel were sentenced to 30 years in prison, after pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to import cocaine to the U.S. They took this deal in exchange for the United States' agreeing not to bring charges against their family members. Their lawyers, David Oscar Markus and Roy Kahn, were able to obtain immunity for 29 family members.
On November 16, 2006, the brothers pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to engage in money laundering. Both were sentenced to an additional 87 months in prison. The two prison terms were set to run concurrently.