WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A. – Gen. Óscar Naranjo, Colombia’s national police chief, has been appointed as an honorary special agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), agency officials said.
Naranjo’s appointment was conducted in a closed-door ceremony under tight security measures during the 117th Annual Conference and Exposition of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), held this week in Orlando, Fla.
The honorary designation is a demonstration “of our greatest appreciation, gratitude and respect for Gen. Naranjo,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart, according to the Colombian website El Espectador.com.
Naranjo has been fighting narcotics trafficking for more than three decades in the Andean nation.
“I receive [the recognition] on behalf of my government and on behalf of the policemen who throughout the years have sacrificed their lives,” Naranjo said, according to the Colombian website El Colombiano.com. “I receive it on behalf of my 13 police officers who remain in captivity in the depths of the jungle and on behalf of Colombians who have given us their support and confidence to help us move forward in fulfilling our duty.”
Naranjo, who was recognized for his work in the fight against narcotics, is focused on securing the release of 13 policemen who are being held captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
El Salvador: Soccer team owner arrested
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – One of the owners of the Club Deportivo Vista Hermosa soccer team has been arrested for his alleged participation in a cocaine deal, police said.
Cristóbal Benítez Canales was among a group of four suspected of participating in a deal that involved more than two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of cocaine when they were apprehended inside a parked vehicle in the municipality of San Carlos in the northeastern department of Morazán. It is unclear whether Benítez was the buyer or seller, according to a police statement.
Police also raided Correcaminos stadium, the team's home field, as well as four businesses owned by the Benítez family, according to The Associated Press.
Nicaragua: Officials seize 87 kilograms of cocaine
MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Police arrested six suspects and seized 87 kilograms (192 pounds) of cocaine following an inspection of a tour bus traveling south on the Pan-American Highway, Commissioner Carlos Martínez, deputy chief of police in the southern city of Rivas, said.
The narcotic was stored in 72 packages and concealed inside two caches. The bus driver Santiago Antonio Castellón Portillo and five others were taken into custody. The men had departed from the Peñas Blancas border post and were bound for Costa Rica, Martínez said, according to the Nicaraguan website El Nuevo Diario.com.
Brazil, Colombia and Peru agree on military cooperation
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Military commanders from Brazil, Colombia and Peru have agreed to work together to strengthen their border patrols during a meeting in the Colombian city of Leticia in the southern department of Amazonas.
The militaries will work to improve the exchanging of intelligence to stop narcotics and weapons trafficking, as well as the illegal exploitation of natural resources along the countries’ borders.
The militaries also will focus on fighting terrorism, as Colombian guerrillas have been entering Peru through Putumayo, Peruvian Gen. Francisco Javier Contreras Rivas said, according to the Colombian website Caracol.com.co.
Colombia: Eight kilograms of cocaine seized at international airport
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Authorities have confiscated eight kilograms (17.6 pounds) of cocaine they discovered in a bed inside one of the main stores at the international airport in the nation’s capital this past weekend, police officials said.
Police said they were making routine checks when an officer noticed that the back of the bed looked abnormal.
“After taking the bed to the scanner, the drug was detected,” police said, according to the Colombian website Vanguardia.com.
The narcotics, which were handed to authorities, were destined for the U.S., where the drug had a street value in excess of US$240,000.
The cocaine’s owner is unknown, police said.