Fri, Apr 17, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Colombia catches cocaine kingpin

AP , BOGOTA

Colombia’s most wanted drug lord was cowering like a dog under a palm tree when he was captured on Wednesday in a jungle raid involving hundreds of police officers, the Colombian defense minister said.

Daniel Rendon Herrera, a far-right warlord known as “Don Mario,” was taken in shackles to the capital to await possible ­extradition to the US.

Operating in a banana-­growing region bordering Panama, he commanded a private army of hundreds and shipped some 100 tonnes of cocaine to the US, authorities said.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe described Rendon, 43, as “one of the most feared drug traffickers in the world.” National police director General Oscar Naranjo said his organization was believed to have committed 3,000 murders in the last 18 months.

The bulk of those killings occurred in turf battles with other drug lords, police said, including former lieutenants of 14 paramilitary leaders Colombia extradited to the US last year to stand trial on drug trafficking charges.

Colombian officials had offered a reward of up to US$2 million for information leading to the capture of the man whose organization, controlling key smuggling routes to Central America, was believed to have been working closely with Mexican traffickers.

Various people helped police locate the hideout of “Don Mario” and may share parts of the reward, an official said.

Also See: Obama to support drug war in Mexico visit

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