GUATEMALA CITY – Police have apprehended a suspected narcotics trafficker sought by the United States for cocaine smuggling and confiscated about US$2 million in cash his brother had in two bags, officials said.
Mauro Salomón Ramírez Barrios, who goes by the alias “The Purple One,” was taken into custody on Oct. 2 in the town of San Bernardino, culminating a four-day search, President Álvaro Colom said at a media conference.
Ramírez’s apprehension occurred more than two weeks after he eluded police during a gunfight at a shopping mall that left two police officers and a civilian dead in the nation’s capital.
Colom said Ramírez was transported to Guatemala City, where a court will decide whether he’ll be extradited to the United States.
“It's a blow to organized crime,” he said, according to The Associated Press.
Ramírez is wanted in Florida on charges he allegedly has trafficked 3,335 kilograms (7,337 pounds) of cocaine since 2007.
Ramírez allegedly paid fishermen to smuggle the narcotic into the United States through Mexico. Ramírez’s brother, Sergio Tellechea Barrios, was arrested in another town, where he was found in possession of more than US$1.8 million, said prosecutor Brenda Muñoz.
“We've been counting the money for hours,” she said, according to the AP. “Now, we can say for sure that US$1,832,500 was seized.”
Panama: Authorities seize three tons of cocaine
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Authorities seized three tons of cocaine in an area close to the Calovébora River in the province of Veraguas, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of the nation’s capital.
The drug traffickers fled the scene after detecting the presence of law enforcement officials, according to EFE.
The seizure comes about a week after authorities confiscated close to eight tons of cocaine during a 24-hour period.
Panamanian officials said they have seized more than 80 tons of drugs so far this year, well above the 54.3 tons they confiscated during all of 2009.
Peru: Police seize 300 kilograms of cocaine
LIMA, Peru – Police arrested two and seized 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of cocaine found in a van in the city of Chincha.
The men have been identified as Alejandro Trujillo Fabián, 25, and Roberto Rivera Flores, 29, who were taken into custody after the narcotic was found packed into brick-like packages that were hidden under the body of the vehicle.
The narcotics were produced in the drug-rich Huánuco region in central Peru and were bound for the nation’s capital, according to the Peruvian radio RPP.
Brazil: Police seize 375 kilograms of marijuana
SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Police have seized 375 kilograms (826 pounds) of marijuana in a truck about 369 kilometers (229 miles) from Campo Grande, capital of Mato Grosso do Sul, in western Brazil.
The driver was taken into custody in Ponta Porã after police found the narcotic, which was stored in 355 packages hidden throughout the vehicle, according to the Brazilian website Noticias.r7.com.
Colombia: Military confiscates 59 kilograms of cocaine
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – The army found a cache containing 59 kilograms (129 pounds) of high-purity cocaine that had a street value of about $1.1 million pesos (US$611,000) and was ready for distribution.
The drug, which was divided into 59 packages, was found during a military operation on Oct. 2 in the municipality of Tibú in the department of Norte de Santander, officials said.
The Technical Investigation Body of the Attorney General’s Office suspects the narcotic belonged to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has a strong presence in the Catatumbo region, according to RCN Radio.
Panamanian officials seize more than five tons of cocaine
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Panamanian officials, working with the Colombian Navy, have confiscated 4,926 kilograms (10,837 pounds) of cocaine from a boat in Veraguas Norte, Panama.
Colombia provided information that enabled Panamanian law enforcement officials to intercept a boat carrying 196 bundles of cocaine that had a street value of more than US$123 million, about 65 nautical miles off the coast of Colón, Panama.
Officials also seized 12 guns and arrested the pilot of the boat, which had departed from Colombia, according to the Colombian website El Espectador.com.