Colombia: Santos Continuing Success in Narcotics Fight

By Dialogo
April 15, 2011



BOGOTÁ, Colombia – President Juan Manuel Santos’ fight against
narco-trafficking and terrorism scored three major victories this week when law
enforcement agents arrested an alleged high-ranking member of a gang as well as two
suspected members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Here’s a look at who was taken into custody:
• Hilber Nover Urdinola Perea, an alleged high-ranking leader of the Los
Machos gang, was arrested on murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and narcotics
trafficking charges in the southwestern department of Cauca on April 9, officials
said. Authorities had offered a reward of about US$1 million for information leading
to his arrest. Perea, who goes by the nickname “Don H,” is the nephew of drug
kingpin Ivan Urdinola, who died of a heart attack while in prison in 2002.
• Néstor Ramírez Muñoz, the alleged leader of the FARC’s 22nd Front, was
arrested by police in Villavicencio, the capital of the department of Meta, on April
10. Ramírez, 47, was apprehended while receiving medical treatment in the city.
Ramírez, who goes by the alias “Géner Lara Muñoz,” allegedly joined the FARC when he
was 16, officials said. His alleged girlfriend, Paola Andrea Arévalo (Judith), also
was arrested during the operation.
• Pablo Emilio Rodríguez, a suspected FARC member who was in charge of the
organization’s finances, was apprehended by police during a raid in Bogotá on April
10.
The FARC is the largest terrorist organization in the Andean nation and has
been fighting the state since the 1960s. But FARC membership has dwindled in the
past decade, largely because former President Álvaro Uribe and his successor,
Santos, have made dismantling the organization a top priority.

Honduras: Army to team with police in narcotics fight

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – The army will support the police for the
first time in an effort to improve the country’s fight against narco-trafficking and
organized crime.
“We trained members of the naval and air forces to tackle drug trafficking,”
Minister of Defense Marlon Pascua told the Honduran daily La
Tribuna.
Pascua said narco-traffickers have “taken advantage of the geographic
location of Honduras to bring drugs in,” according to the Mexican daily
Provincia.
“There is much to be done in the fight against organized crime and drug
trafficking, but results will be seen soon,” Pascua said, acknowledging the
government “does not have the necessary financial resources to address both
scourges.”

Ecuador: Nine tons of narcotics seized in first quarter of 2011

QUITO, Ecuador – Law enforcement agents seized nine tons of
narcotics during the first quarter of 2011, Interior Minister Alfredo Vera said.
The seizures “show the great effort made by the National Police through the
specialized drug unit to fight drug trafficking in Ecuador as no other country in
the region has done,” Vera said in a statement.
Ecuador seized 18 tons all of last year and confiscated a record 68 tons in
2009.
Vera estimated the street value of the narcotics seized from 2009 and 2011 at
US$360 million. The majority of the narcotics were destined for the United States
via Mexico or Central America, according to the Ecuadoran website
Vistazo.com.

Argentina: More than 9,000 pounds of marijuana seized

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Counter-narcotics agents confiscated
more than 9,000 pounds of marijuana in one operation and arrested two suspects in
connection with the confiscation of 79 pounds in another raid, according to the
coast guard.
The first raid, which netted 4,135 kilograms (9,097 pounds), occurred just
before midnight in the municipality of Puerto Rico on April 8, according to the
Argentine daily El Liberal. Officials said the marijuana had a
street value of US$4.2 million.
The second confiscation occurred in the town of Montecarlo. Two men were
taken into custody after authorities found approximately 36 kilograms (79 pounds) of
marijuana in their car during a traffic stop.
The men, whose identities were not released by police, were taken to the
nearby town of Eldorado in the province of Misiones to face narcotics trafficking
charges, according to El Liberal.

Argentina: Police seize guns, narcotics in raid

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentine police seized 54 guns, 1,000
doses of cocaine and three kilograms (6.6 pounds) of marijuana during recent raids
in the San Fernando district of the nation’s capital, officials said on April 8.
The raids led to numerous arrests, including the apprehension of Guido
Zappia, who was allegedly caught in possession of nine kilograms (19.8 pounds) of
cocaine. Zappia has been charged with narcotics trafficking, according to the
Argentine daily El Comercial.

Colombia: Authorities seize 803 kilograms of cocaine

CARTAGENA, Colombia – Police officers and navy troops
apprehended one suspect in connection with the seizure of 803 kilograms (1,766
pounds) of cocaine on a farm in the town of Pasacaballos in the coastal city of
Cartagena, officials said on April 7.
The narcotics were expected to be shipped to Central America, where they
would have been smuggled into the United States, officials said.
The suspect was turned over to prosecutors, who will charge him with
narcotics trafficking. The Attorney General’s Office has launched an investigation
to determine who also may have owned the cocaine, which has been destroyed by
authorities, according to the Colombian website El Universal.com.

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