BOGOTÁ, Colombia – President Álvaro Uribe’s administration scored a major victory against narcotics traffickers when authorities arrested a suspected high-ranking drug lord on May 17, according to a police statement. José Covey Romero, who is suspected of leading a faction known as the People’s Revolutionary Anti-Terrorist Army of Colombia, was taken into custody in the department of Vichada, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) east of the nation’s capital, according to EFE. Romero, who is charged with criminal conspiracy and terrorism, is suspected to have “coordinated drug-trafficking and financial activities” in the departments of Meta, Vichada and Guainía under wanted gang leader Pedro Oliverio Guerrero, according to the statement.
Colombian officials arrest 20 suspected of running drug trafficking network in Caribbean
Colombian authorities, in an effort with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, have arrested 20 suspected members of a syndicate that used Caribbean maritime routes to traffic cocaine, police officials in Bogotá said. “Operation Dolphin,” executed by the National Police’s DIJIN unit, dismantled the syndicate’s base in Montería in the Caribbean island of San Andrés, said Gen. Luis Gilberto Ramírez, who leads the DIJIN. The traffickers were transporting about 30 tons of cocaine monthly to the United States along Colombia's Caribbean coast and via cities in Costa Rica and Honduras, Ramírez said to EFE. Ramírez said five of the suspected traffickers are sought for extradition by U.S. officials in Florida. The operation nabbed John Alexander Mejía, who officials suspect as the organization’s second in command and Paola Damiana Padrón, who was in charge of plotting routes that eluded authorities, according to EFE. “We can say that (with these arrests) we have smashed a criminal drug-trafficking ring,” Ramírez said to EFE, adding seven of the gang's motorboat pilots also were apprehended.
EU, Andean Community forge partnership to stop drug trafficking, global warming
The European Union and the Andean Community have agreed to partner to fight drug trafficking and global warming. The sides met after a summit between the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean in Madrid that included officials from 60 nations and more than 30 heads of state or government. European Commission President José Manuel Barroso characterized drug trafficking as a threat to security and democracy, according to DPA. The commission overseeing the partnership will fund the program with €257 million (US$314 million), Barroso told DPA. Peruvian President Alan García, who presides over the Andean Community comprised of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia, said the sides will seek the advice of decision-makers and academic experts when determining strategies to fight narcotics trafficking and global warming.
Six dead, one abducted during attack by Bolivian drug dealers
At least six were killed, including three Serbians and three Bolivians, and a Bolivian was kidnapped during an attack by suspected narcotics traffickers in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, according to media reports. The attack occurred on the night of May 14, when drug traffickers – posing as police at a counterfeit checkpoint – stopped the victims before torturing and executing them, according to the preliminary investigation as reported by the Latin American Herald Tribune. The assailants kidnapped William Rosales Suárez, a Bolivian who police suspect leads a drug-trafficking operation in Santa Cruz, so they could claim the large reward that’s been offered for his apprehension, police said. Rosales Suárez’s mother, Dora, said her son, who was previously involved in drug trafficking, now works raising cattle, according to EFE. The six victims were shot in the head numerous times, according to EFE.