COLOMBIA: BOGOTA: ALLEGED DRUG CARTEL LEADER ARRESTED

Natural Sound

Colombian police have arrested another leader of the notorious Cali drug cartel.

Jose Santacruz Londono, who’s thought to be the number three figure in the group, was picked up by police officers (Tuesday), as he was eating a meal in a Bogota restaurant.

His arrest comes a month after two other senior cartel members surrendered to the authorities.

The arrest of fifty two year old Jose Santacruz Londono is a triumph for the Colombian authorities, who are striving to prove to the outside world that they’re clamping down on the country’s drug barons.

Fifty two year old Londono, alias “chepe”, is thought to be the number three figure in the Cali cartel, which supplies 80% of the world’s cocaine.

The US government say’s that Londono was responsible for consolidating the gang’s sales network in New York.

Looking tired and dishevelled, Londono was displayed in front of television cameras and photographers at national police headquarters.
He had been arrested by eight officers who found him at a Bogota restaurant with his friends. He did not offer any resistance.

The Colombian authorities had put up a 5,000 reward for Londono’s capture.

He had been on the run for many years and is wanted on drug trafficking and terrorism charges. He’s also been linked to the 1992 murder of a journalist who was investigating his drug connections.

Although Londono’s been indicted on a number of occasions in the United States, the Colombian’s won’t hand him over because their law forbids the extradition of their citizens.

The country’s defence minister Fernando Botero Zea congratulated the police on the arrest.

But in spite of their recent successes against the Cali cartel, the authorities reluctantly admit that it could be many years before they win the war against drugs.

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For decades Colombia’s Pacific coast has been one of the most important drug trafficking routes to Central America and the US.
The drug cartels have come up with new and more sophisticated ways of moving their shipments without being caught.
Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti reports from Bahia Malaga, Colombia.

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COLOMBIA: TOP CALI CARTEL DRUG SMUGGLER ARRESTED

Spanish/Nat
One of South America’s most wanted drug smugglers was captured by Colombian secret police in the north of Bogota.
Thursday’s swoop came after a three month operation headed by Colombian and Venezuelan authorities together with the U-S Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Fernando Florez was presented at a press conference held by Colombian National Police on the day of the arrest.
One of the Cali drug cartel’s biggest drug smugglers was captured by Colombian secret police on Thursday.
Fernando Florez was escorted into a press conference held by the Colombian National Police.
Florez is Venezuelan by origin and is known as ‘El Gordo’ – the fat one.
He has spent most of his time in Colombia working with the Cali drug cartel.
General Luis Guillevert, Chief of National Police operations confirmed the nature of the arrest.
SOUNDBITE: (Spanish)
“More than five tonnes of cocaine have been siezed in the south of La Florida, using an undercover operation and our contacts in Venezuela. These are the same methods for dealing with the Cali drugs cartel.”
SUPER CAPTION: General Luis Guillevert, Chief of National Police operations
A three month operation finally led under cover cops to a luxury hotel in the north of Bogota.
Authorities from three different countries were involved with the swoop.
Colombian and Venezuelan secret agents were working together with the U-S Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
SOUNDBITE: (Spanish)
“With the help of the Colombian attorney general, special agents from the Colombian police today succeeded in capturing one of the leaders of drug trafficking in Venezuela. The action happened in an area in the north of Bogota.”
SUPER CAPTION: General Luis Guillevert, Chief of National Police operations
Joint forces tracked Florez’ movements for three months as he networked his contacts in Colombia.
Over five tonnes of cocaine destined for the U-S was siezed by the operation in Florencia.
These pictures show the Colombian forces inspecting a similar haul in December 1997.
Florez is wanted in the U-S for smuggling drugs into the country via Florida.
He is also wanted in Venezuela.
During his stay in Colombia, Florez had taken on two separate Colombian identities.
But the secret police were not fooled for long.
Both sets of finger prints for the two fake identities matched Florez’ own.

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