Skip to main content

Colombian president: Wanted drug lord captured

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 10:44 PM EDT, Tue September 18, 2012
Daniel
Daniel "El Loco" Barrera
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Venezuela's interior minister will discuss capture, drug seizure Wednesday
  • Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced the capture
  • Daniel "El Loco" Barrera is accused of alliances with paramilitaries, drug trafficking
  • The CIA assisted in his capture, Colombian president says

(CNN) -- Authorities have captured one of Colombia's last great crime bosses, President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday night.

Accused drug lord Daniel "El Loco" Barrera was captured in San Cristobal, Venezuela, Santos said. Barrera is accused of alliances with paramilitaries and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrilla group in addition to drug trafficking crimes over a period of more than 20 years.

"He is the last of the great (crime) bosses. This is very forceful blow," Santos said in televised remarks.

"This is a very important step toward the security that we want to achieve in this country," he said.

The operation, directed from Washington, came about with collaboration between British, Colombian, U.S. and Venezuelan officials, Santos said.

"I want to thank the Venezuelan government, President (Hugo) Chavez and his team, for this great collaboration that has produced this capture," Santos said.

The MI6 British intelligence agency and the CIA also assisted, he said.

Venezuela's interior minister will discuss Barrera's capture and "the seizure of more than a ton of drugs" in a news conference Wednesday morning, the nation's information ministry said in a statement.

In October 2010, Colombian authorities said they found more than $29 million and 17 million euros in cash stashed in two homes that Barrera owned. At the time the South American country's defense minister called it the "biggest drug-money seizure operation in the country's history."

Earlier that year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury said Barrera played a significant role in international drug trafficking and described him as one of Colombia's most wanted drug traffickers, noting in a statement that the Colombian government had offered a $2.5-million reward for information leading to his capture.

The statement said Barrera operated primarily in the eastern plains of Colombia, between the capital of Bogota and the Venezuelan border.

An indictment unsealed in a Florida federal court in September 2011 accuses Barrera of conspiring to manufacture, distribute and import cocaine into the United States. If convicted on those charges, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office said at the time.

'Queen of Cocaine' killed in Colombia

Journalists Fernando Ramos and Osmary Hernandez contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT