A total of 34 members of a drug-trafficking organization linked to Mexican drug boss Joaquín Guzmán, alias “el Chapo,” were arrested on February 25, following an investigation that lasted several months and enabled the seizure of ten tons of drugs, Colombian authorities announced.
Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón announced that the operation enabled “the arrest of 34 individuals with extradition orders pending.”
“This organization has been neutralized, with the prior seizure of ten tons of cocaine and 16 planes over the last few months, and the full identification of their contacts, particularly around (Joaquín Guzmán) alias ‘el Chapo,’” the director of the police, General Oscar Naranjo, pointed out.
The police commander highlighted the fact that “this is the largest number of individuals arrested for purposes of extradition in the history of the country.”
Along those lines, he said that those arrested are sought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, in Miami, and are responsible for amassing around 90 percent of the cocaine produced in southeastern Colombia, destined for the United States and Mexico.
Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán is the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, which dominates the Mexican states of Culiacán and Sinaloa. Forbes magazine considers 54-year-old “el Chapo,” the planet’s most powerful criminal and its most wanted man following the death of Osama bin Laden, the former leader of al-Qaida.
His criminal organization, with tentacles in 48 countries, was consolidated following his 2001 escape from a Mexican prison in a laundry cart. According to the UN, the Sinaloa cartel moves a third of the over 600 tons of cocaine that enter the United States each year.