Friday, 5 September 2008

Edgar Vallejo Guarin accused by the U.S. authorities of heading one of the most violent drug trafficking networks in South America has been arrested

Edgar Vallejo-Guarin was arrested at one of the Spanish capital's leading luxury hotels after an operation involving the US Drug Enforcement Agency - DEA - and Spain's National Police and paramilitary Civil Guard. He is accused of heading one of Colombia's biggest and most violent cocaine cartels and alleged to have moved many millions of pounds worth of the drug into the US and to Britain and the rest of western Europe through Spain. Vallejo-Guarin, who will be 48 later this month, has been wanted by a US Federal Court in Florida since 2001 on multiple drug trafficking charges. There was a reward of five million dollars for his capture.
His arrest came after the DEA was alerted that he had been in Venezuela and then moved on to Spain. Later Spanish police discovered that he was living in the country with Venezuelan documentation under the name Jairo Gomez. He was using that identity when he was arrested at the Melia Fenix hotel on Madrid's principle Castellana boulevard less than a mile from the US embassy. America has said it would be seeking Vallejo-Guarin's extradition. Eduardo Aguirre, the US ambassador to Spain, described the drug baron's capture as "an excellent example" of international co-operation in the war against drug trafficking. Colombian accused by the U.S. authorities of heading one of the most violent drug trafficking networks in South America has been arrested in a Madrid hotel, the U.S. Embassy in the city said on Friday.U.S. authorities had offered a reward of $5 million for Edgar Vallejo Guarin, also know as "Beto Gitano", who had been on their wanted list since 2001.He was captured in the Melia Fenix hotel in Madrid on Thursday night, following a tip-off from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre said in a statement that the U.S. government would seek his extradition from Spain."Vallejo Guarin has an extensive history of violence, money laundering, and the corruption of high-level government officials," the U.S. State Dept. website says.Vallejo Guarin, 47, is alleged to have been a major supplier of Colombian cocaine to the U.S. from 1990 to 1999 and is a suspect in several drug-related murders.He was indicted in June 2001 in the Southern District of Florida for heading and operating a continuing criminal enterprise.The DEA received information following the indictment that Vallejo Guarin had been located first in Venezuela and then in Spain.Spanish police found Vallejo Guarin had used Venezuelan documentation to obtain residency in Spain under the assumed name of Jairo Gomez.


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