Colombian drug lord captured in Venezuela

2012-09-19 09:00
Colombian drug lord Daniel Barrera Barrera, aka "El Loco Barrera". (Colombian Police/ AFP)

Colombian drug lord Daniel Barrera Barrera, aka "El Loco Barrera". (Colombian Police/ AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Venezuela
    This book explores the state of Venezuelan politics and relations with the United States. Now R1,827.00
    buy now
Bogota - One of Colombia's most wanted drug traffickers was captured in neighbouring Venezuela on Tuesday with the help of Caracas as well as British and US intelligence agencies, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said.

Authorities in Colombia, one of the world's top cocaine producers, had been closing in on Daniel Barrera - known as "Crazy Barrera" - in recent weeks, arresting 36 members of his gang and seizing five tons of the drug and 21 aircraft.

"Crazy Barrera has been perhaps the most wanted kingpin in recent times," Santos said. "He has dedicated 20 years to doing bad things to Colombia and the world, all types of crime, perverse alliances with paramilitaries, with the Farc [rebel group]."

In a televised speech, Colombia's president said Barrera was captured in the Venezuelan city of San Cristobal, about 24km from the Colombian border. Santos said the operation was directed from Washington by a Colombian police general.

The government says Barrera's smuggling ring was capable of sending 10 tons of cocaine a month to Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, the most powerful organised crime gang in the Americas.

He had a $5m bounty on his head from the United States and $2.7m from the Colombian government.

Venezuela takes the credit

Santos thanked US and British intelligence agencies as well as Venezuela President Hugo Chavez's government for their help. He did not give any more details about the operation.

Chavez's government summoned reporters to a news conference early on Wednesday but also issued a brief statement hailing the operation as further proof of Venezuela's "indomitable will" in the fight against drug trafficking.

"[Venezuela] ratifies its determination to continue with a sovereign policy in this battle, whose results can be seen by the international community," the Foreign Ministry said.

The Venezuelan government's statement did not mention the involvement of US, British or Colombian agents, saying Barrera was captured by Venezuelan forces led by the Interior Ministry's National Anti-Drugs Office.

The participation of foreign counter-narcotics agents would be something of a surprise, although far from impossible, given Chavez's frequent verbal attacks on the role of Western "imperialist" governments in Latin America.

He expelled US Drug Enforcement Administration officials from Venezuela in 2005 after accusing them of spying, but says that his government has greatly increased its number of arrests of traffickers and its seizures of drugs since then.

Security threat

Santos has forged a friendship with the socialist leader since Colombia's president took power in 2010. He has touted previous arrests of other Colombian traffickers in Venezuela as proof that he and Chavez's ideologically opposed governments are united against organised crime.

Santos risks the ire of his Venezuelan counterpart on Wednesday, however, when he is due to meet Henrique Capriles, Chavez's election rival ahead of Venezuela's 7 October election, in Bogota.

Santos' economic policies have won Colombia investment grade status from the three leading rating agencies but the achievements have been tarnished by a recent increase in violence by leftist rebels, including attacks on oil companies.

Drug-funded criminal gangs composed of members of former right-wing paramilitary groups and old cartels have also become a big security threat for the nation of 46 million people.

While bloodshed from Colombia's long guerrilla and drug wars has dropped since a US-backed offensive began more than a decade ago, bombings, murders and combat continue, mainly in border areas.

The decline in violence has attracted billions of dollars in foreign investment, mainly in oil and mining, which has let the country boost crude and coal output to historic highs.

Read more on:    juan manuel santos  |  colombia  |  venezuela  |  narcotics
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Epping - 11:04 AM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive Northbound
    DELAYS towards Viking Way
  • Wednesday Brackenfell - 10:44 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at the R300 Highway - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DStv Walka Handheld TV

The Walka Handheld TV is a slim, lightweight device with...

From R199.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is always easier to look out and see what needs changing. Looking in is a lot harder... Today you may need to look at what...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.