Alleged Colombian cocaine kingpin surrenders to U.S.
A Colombian wanted for allegedly smuggling tons of cocaine bound for the United States into Mexico has surrendered to US officials and may help track down other traffickers, Colombian police said Monday.
The United States had offered a five million dollar reward for the capture of Javier Calle Serna, a former leftist guerrilla who allegedly commanded a paramilitary group called Los Rastrojos that protected drug trafficking networks.
Bogota police chief, Jose Roberto Leon, said Calle surrendered to DEA agents in Aruba on Friday and was taken to New York where he was indicted in 2009 on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine.
US authorities allege Calle’s drug trafficking networks likely smuggled more than 30 tons of cocaine into Mexico since 2008, using speedboats, fishing vessels and semi-submersibles to move the drugs.
Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra said Calle negotiated his surrender with the DEA, and suggested he would be able to provide information on other top Colombian drug dealers.
“It’s a clear and resounding message to all drug traffickers,” Leon told reporters. “They have few days of freedom left.”
Leon singled out by name Daniel “el Loco” Barrera, reputed to be Colombia’s top drug trafficker, heading an organization responsible for smuggling as much as 900 tons of cocaine to the United States or Europe in recent years.
“The only way out for the drug traffickers, the terrorists and the heads of drug trafficking groups, is to turn themselves in to the Columbian justice,” he said.
Colombia is the world’s biggest producer of cocaine, turning out 350 tons of the drug in 2010, according to UN estimates.
[Colombian soldiers arrange packages of cocaine after a seizure in 2008. AFP Photo/Raul Arboleda]