CARACAS, Venezuela – Suspected narcotics traffickers Jaime Alberto Marín Zamora and Omar Guzmán Martínez have been extradited to the United States by Venezuelan authorities, Tarek El Aissami, Venezuela’s Interior Minister, said.
“We view the arrest and transfer to the United States of two major narco-traffickers, Jaime Alberto Marín and Omar Guzmán Martínez, by Venezuelan authorities as a valuable and positive development,” the U.S. Embassy in Caracas said in a statement. “These are very dangerous, violent individuals with outstanding warrants in the United States. The Venezuelan police officers who made these arrests demonstrated excellent police work in bringing these two drug traffickers to justice.”
The suspects were placed in the custody of U.S. officials at the International Airport of Maiquetía Simón Bolívar. Marín, who goes by the alias “Beto Marín,” is suspected of being a member of the Norte del Valle cartel. The 48-year-old Colombian, who was arrested in Venezuela on Sept. 17, has been accused of drug trafficking, money laundering and criminal conspiracy in the U.S., El Aissami said.
Guzmán, a 38-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, was apprehended in Caracas on Aug. 25. “He has been wanted by the United States since March 19, 2009,” El Aissami said.
Guzmán is expected to be tried in New York on cocaine-trafficking charges.
Colombian authorities destroy drug lab
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – The army, navy and air force destroyed a drug laboratory and seized an array of weapons that are suspected of belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the department of Cauca.
Officials discovered weapons, explosives and more than 9,000 rounds of ammunition – many of which had been injected with cyanide – in a deposit near the municipality of El Tambo.
“This ammunition will no longer harm the security forces or civilians,” Jairo Herazo, chief of the Joint Command of the Pacific, told reporters, according to the Colombian daily El Espectador. “It is a heavy blow. They can have guns, but they can’t shoot.”
Meantime, in a rural area of the municipality of Argelia, officials destroyed a drug laboratory after seizing 666 kilograms (1,465 pounds) of cocaine, chemicals and laboratory equipment. Herazo said officials faced no resistance but made no arrests during the operations, according to El Espectador.
Colombian police apprehend suspected narcotics traffickers sought by U.S.
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Phanor Arizabaleta Arzayús and Mario Germán Satizábal, two major suspected narcotics traffickers, were arrested in the southwestern city of Cali, Gen. Óscar Naranjo, the national police director, said.
Arizabaleta, 72, has already served jail time in Colombia for drug trafficking, but he spent most of his sentence under house arrest because of his failing health.
U.S. officials want Arizabaleta extradited because he's suspected of playing a major role in helping the Cali cartel supply about 80% of the cocaine consumed in the U.S. during the 1990s, according to EFE.
The Cali cartel's initial leaders, brothers Gilberto and Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, are incarcerated in the U.S. Meantime, Mario Germán Satizábal, is suspected of being a high-ranking leader of the Norte del Valle cartel, Naranjo said, according to EFE.
Panama: More than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine seized
PANAMA CITY, Panama – The National Police said it confiscated an SUV filled with 527 kilograms (1,159 pounds) of cocaine near the Bridge of the Americas, which crosses the Panama Canal, officials said.
The police also confiscated 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of the narcotic during an operation with the country’s Aeronaval Service and the counternarcotics prosecutor's office in the province of Colón, according to the Panamanian daily La Prensa.
Officials are searching for the traffickers who owned the cocaine, which is expected to be destroyed.
Panamanian officials have incinerated more than 25 tons of drugs so far this year, according to EFE. This past weekend, police destroyed 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds) of cocaine and 890 kilograms (1,958 pounds) of marijuana that had been confiscated.
Colombian authorities seize 400 kilograms of cocaine
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Colombian authorities recently seized 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of cocaine being transported on a truck in the nation’s capital, officials said.
The narcotics, which had a street value of about US$30.8 million, is suspected of belonging to trafficker Pedro Oliverio Guerrero, also known as “Cuchillo,” one of the five most wanted drug traffickers in Colombia, according to the Department of Administrative Security (DAS).
Police arrested two in connection with the truck and handed them over to the National Antinarcotics Unit, according to the DAS statement, as reported by the Colombian news website Semana.com.
Colombia: Navy seizes more than US$1.1 million in suspected drug money
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Naval officials said they seized about 2 billion pesos (US$1.1 million) they suspect belonged to narcotics traffickers at the southwestern port of Buenaventura.
The cash, which was separated into bundles of bills worth 50,000 pesos (US$27.80) each, was discovered during an inspection of a passenger boat destined for the municipality of López de Micay, in the department of Cauca, the navy said in a statement.
Coast Guard officials arrested two crew members who, along with the money, were turned over to prosecutors in Buenaventura, according to the Colombian daily El Colombiano.
The seizure marks another major victory for President Juan Manuel Santos. Last week, the National Police confiscated about 43 billion pesos (US$24 million) discovered in a vehicle suspected of being owned by narcotics traffickers. Earlier this month, officials confiscated US$28 million in suspected drug money that was collectively found inside three cars in the nation's capital, according to EFE.