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‘Colombian Necktie’ a Grisly Fate for Drug Snitches

March 9, 1995 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ In Colombia’s drug underworld of the 1980s, snitches met with a gruesome fate: Their throats were slashed and their tongues pulled out through the wounds, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The practice was known as a ``Colombian necktie″ and was used to send a message to anyone else who might be inclined to talk to police, DEA spokesman Ralph Lochridge said.

The term was used Wednesday in the O.J. Simpson trial by defense attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr., although he first spoke of a ``Colombian necklace.″ Defense sources said the lawyer misspoke.

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Cochran suggested that Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, whose throats were slashed and bodies stabbed repeatedly, may have been the victims of drug dealers. One of Ms. Simpson’s best friends, Faye Resnick, had been using cocaine and was admitted to a drug rehab center days before the murders.

Ralph Lochridge said he has never heard of a ``Colombian necklace,″ only a ``Colombian necktie.″ The practice was originally called a ``Cartagena necktie″ for the Colombian town where the executions were prevalent, he said.

However, Col. Leonardo Gallegos, head of Colombia’s anti-narcotics police, denied that drug traffickers ever used that technique. He said it was used during civil uprisings in the 1940s and ’50s between opposing political parties.

``Colombian traffickers have killed many people, but they do not use this method,″ Gallegos said. Instead, he said, they use bombs and guns.

But Lochridge was adamant that Colombian drug teams have employed the method, and he said that it usually includes torturing or mutilating the victims and shooting them a number of times.

``It’s an effort to silence witnesses, an effort to send a message to anyone else who might be inclined to cooperate with police and snitch _ that this is what happens to their wagging tongues,″ Lochridge said.

Lochridge said there probably have been such murders in the United States, but he has seen none in the Los Angeles area since he started with the DEA in the early 1980s.

``Colombian neckties″ are not unlike Chicago mob-style hits of the 1940s, when informers were shot to death and left with a canary stuffed in their mouths ``because they were singing like a bird,″ Lochridge said.