The Straits Times
Published on Sep 22, 2012

Gangs to fight for drug routes after Colombian capo falls


BOGOTA (AFP) - Crime gangs are likely to engage in a messy battle over lucrative drug smuggling routes through Venezuela following the arrest of Colombia's last major drug lord, experts said here.

For years Daniel 'El Loco' Barrera was the most wanted criminal in South America, accused of shipping some 900 tons (9 million kg) of cocaine to the United States (US) and Europe and dealing with both leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary fighters.

Barrera was arrested in the the Venezuelan border town of San Cristobal while making a telephone call from a pay booth on Tuesday in an operation that Colombian police chief Jose Roberto Leon Riano directed from Washington.

"'El Loco' Barrera was the last capo of his category, one who had major control over an important area of the country," Mr Christian Voelkel with the Internacional Crisis Group told AFP.