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News: International | Law and Justice

Venezuela Extradites Six Alleged Drug Lords to Colombia

Punto Fijo, November 15th, 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan authorities extradited six suspected drug-traffickers to Colombia on Wednesday, including the notorious Daniel “El Loco” Barrera and one U.S. citizen.

All of the men were wanted on drug charges in Colombia, including two who are also wanted in the United States.

Barrera, who is considered to be one of Colombia’s most wanted drug lords, will await extradition to the United States upon reaching Bogota. The Colombian was captured in the Venezuelan city of San Cristobal last September after Colombian officials notified Venezuela that Barrera was making a call from a public payphone.

Barrera had allegedly been hiding in Venezuela since 2008, and had amassed a considerable empire of at least 127 properties, including farms, apartments, hotels, an airplane and a hangar.

Barrera is suspected of having trafficked as much as 400 tons of cocaine a year through Colombia and Venezuela to the United States, Europe and Africa, allowing him to accumulate a fortune that is estimated at 33 million dollars.

Also extradited was the U.S. citizen Eduardo Acosta Mejia who was arrested on the border earlier this year while entering Venezuela from Colombia.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the arrest last August during the presidential campaign. Venezuelan authorities had suspected Mejia of being a “mercenary” when he was captured due to the fact that he is a former U.S. marine, and had multiple passport stamps from Iraq and Afghanistan among others.

Colombia has accused Mejia of working as a bodyguard there for criminal organizations as well as trafficking drugs.

Due to its large border with Colombia, Venezuela is a major route for the shipment of cocaine north to Mexico and the United States. US officials claim that much of the cocaine leaves from clandestine runways along the Venezuela-Colombia border.

The United States government has often accused Venezuela of not cooperating to stop the drug trade, and of allowing drug traffickers to operate freely in the country. However, a series of high-profile arrests have been carried out this year with the cooperation of Venezuelan, Colombian, and US authorities.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos thanked Venezuela for the handover of the alleged drug lords upon their arrival in Bogota.

Published on Nov 16th 2012 at 9.51am