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El Cartel de los Sapos (English title: The Cartel of Snitches) or El Cartel is a Colombianmarker television series that first aired on June 4, 2008 on the Colombian network Caracol TVmarker. It is based on the book by the same name by Andrés López López, alias Florecita (a former drug dealer), who wrote the book during his years in prison. In his book, he writes about his experiences while in the Cartel and what happened within the Norte del Valle Cartel. In the TV series, each character from the book and the locations were changed. El Cartel stars Manolo Cardona, Karen Martínez, Diego Cadavid, and Róbinson Díaz.


Ten friends get in the illegal drugs business, thinking it is the fastest way to become rich, showing how to do things in the legal way.

The illegal drugs traffic world seems to be really attractive for all this middle class people which just want to grow n a safe way without legal problems.

Ignoring this choosing is just the beginning of a turbulent and troubled life that is going to change his fate forever, Martín alias "Fresita" (Named like that because his passion to strawberries) gets a job in a drugs lab sponsored by the big boss Óscar Cadena (Fernando Solorzano). Martín learns really fast and he starts to send illegal drugs to the United States, while his boss makes an alliance with the Villegas Brothers, from the West Cartel, to take down the biggest drug dealer ever: Pablo Escobar.

With Escobar down, a new cartel is up: The Pacific Cartel, the most worthless in Colombiamarker, led by Óscar Cadena, so Óscar (the teacher) and Martín (the student) make a pact of friendship and business.

Martín becomes a rich man and he falls for Sofía (Karen Martinez), a beautiful woman, but he gets her heart by lying to her. But Sofía discovers the origin of Martín's wealth and he has to choose: Sofía or the business.

Óscar helps the police to finish the West Cartel. The snitches (sapos) make the war between these criminal machineries to reach a point of breaking.

Martín refuses to take part in this war and decides to go to Miamimarker with Sofía and his children, but what he does not know is that it is not a safe place anymore, and he must keep going with the old illegal activities, watching his old friends die by the enemy.

Business partners and brothers dead or caught, forces Martín to run to Mexicomarker looking for protection. He realizes too late that in this business; you can never win...So he becomes a sapo and tells his tale to the DEA.


As of July 2008, El Cartel was the highest rated show on Colombian television.

According to TV y Novelas magazine, the show broke a record in Telemundo after its premiere as it was the show with the highest debut rating in the history of the network. El Cartel was watched by 1,251,000 people between 18 and 49 years of age. According to Nielsen, the show was the second most-watched show by men between the ages of 18 to 34 in all of the U.S., on top of other networks like NBC and ABC. Telemundo added English subtitles as closed captions on CC3 starting in March.


The series' first season ended on October 21, 2008, and the second season is expected to air in Caracol TV sometime in 2009.

It started airing on Telemundo Network on December 8, 2008 at 10:30 P.M. time slot. The series, with English subtitles, began airing on mun2 starting August 3, 2009.[682749]

The series started airing in Panamamarker, on January 19, 2009, on TVN at 9:30 P. M.; in Serbiamarker, on October 28, 2009, on TV Košava at 8.00 P.M.


  1. Toby Muse. " 'Cartel' takes over Colombian TV", Associated Press via The Rocky Mountain News, July 16 2008. Retrieved on 2008-07-17.

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