Colombian drug lord arrested


One of Colombia's most wanted drug lords has been arrested in Venezuela, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos has said.

"This is perhaps the most important arrest" in recent times, Mr Santos said, calling the trafficker, Daniel Barrera, "the last of the great kingpins".

Venezuela's justice minister, Tareck El Aissami, confirmed the arrest, saying on Twitter: "It is the most important blow" to drug trafficking "that we have made in Venezuela".

Mr Santos, in televised remarks, said the operation that led to Barrera's capture was directed from Washington and involved the co-operation of Venezuelan drug police, Colombian authorities, the CIA and British intelligence officials.

The president said Venezuelan authorities captured Barrera in San Cristobal, near the border with Colombia. The head of Colombia's National Police said Barrera's extradition to Colombia was being arranged.

The arrest is a potential blow to Colombia's largest rebel group, which was closely allied with Barrera, known as El Loco. The Colombian government and the rebel group, the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, have agreed to begin peace talks next month.

In 2010, Barrera was singled out as playing a significant role in Farc's financing and drug-trafficking networks.

New York Times

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