Thu, May 01, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Colombian police kill drug lord with US$5m bounty

AP , BOGOTA

Police killed one of Colombia’s most-wanted drug lords in a shootout on Tuesday after an informant led officers to a ranch hideout, the defense minister said. The US government had a US$5 million reward out for the man.

Miguel Angel Mejia, one of two suspected drug-trafficking brothers known as “The Twins,” was “perhaps the most wanted of all the criminals,” Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos told a news conference.

In a raid by 14 police officers at the La Union ranch in the northwestern state of Antioquia, two members of Mejia’s security unit were also killed and three of his men were arrested, Santos said.

Miguel Angel and brother Victor Mejia allegedly began trafficking in the 1990s. A US extradition request for the brothers issued in 2004 said they were responsible for shipping nearly 65 tonnes of cocaine in just two years.

Miguel Angel Mejia “wasn’t just very dangerous but also very aggressive,” Santos said. “The Mexicans [anti-drug authorities] considered that this individual was the one who moved the most drugs to Mexico.”

He said five arrest warrants had been pending for the slain drug boss, three for murder.

The US State Department has a standing offer of US$5 million for information leading to the arrest of each of the brothers.

Santos said the informant that led them to Miguel Angel Mejia would be compensated but he did not say how much the informant would receive.

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