The Straits Times
Published on Sep 19, 2012

Colombia says last top drug lord arrested


BOGOTA (AFP) - Colombia said late on Tuesday that Daniel "El Loco" Barrera, alleged to be the country's last major drug lord, had been caught in neighbouring Venezuela in an international sting led from Washington.

"The last of the great capos has fallen," President Juan Manuel Santos announced on national television, adding that the United States (US) Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Britain's MI6 intelligence service had provided support.

Barrera, whose outfit is estimated to have sent more than 900 tons of cocaine to the United States and Europe, was caught in the Venezuelan city of San Cristobal, said Santos, adding that the drug lord had criminal ties to Farc (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels and paramilitaries.

"This is perhaps the most important capture of recent times," the president said, thanking the Venezuelan government for its help. Venezuelan Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami confirmed the arrest on Twitter, calling it a "major coup" for his country and adding that "images" and "details of the operation" would be released on Wednesday.