Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia drug baron Barrera captured in Venezuela

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Media captionColombian President Juan Manuel Santos spoke as footage showing part of the police operation was released

One of Colombia's most notorious drug traffickers has been captured in Venezuela.

Daniel Barrera, known as "Crazy Barrera", was captured in San Cristobal across the border from Colombia with the help of Venezuelan, British and US intelligence agencies.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos described him as "perhaps the most wanted kingpin in recent times".

Colombia is one of the world's main producers of cocaine.

Cocaine 'legend'

Mr Barrera's criminal empire delivered cocaine not only to the US but around the world, especially to Europe.

The reward offered for his capture in the US was $5m (£3m) - the same as Osama Bin Laden. Colombia added $2.7m to that.

The BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Colombia says the trafficker was a legend in the cocaine business, not only for his longevity but also for his ability to work with all sides in Colombia's 48-year civil conflict.

"He has dedicated 20 years to doing bad things to Colombia and the world, all types of crime, perverse alliances with paramilitaries, with the Farc [rebel group]," President Santos said in a televised speech.

Daniel Barrera's arrest was the third detention of an alleged Colombian drug baron over the past year.

In June, Venezuelan authorities captured the alleged head of the Los Rajostros drug cartel, Diego Perez Henao, better known as Diego Rastrojo.

His gang has become a major exporter of cocaine to the US via Mexico in recent years, according to police.

Perez Henao is said to have controlled half the members of the paramilitary criminal organisations involved in drug trafficking in Colombia.

The cartel's previous leader, Javier Antonio Calle Serna, handed himself to US authorities on the island of Aruba in May.

He is accused of the murder in 2008 of Wilber Varela, a Colombian drugs baron whose drug-smuggling routes he supposedly took over.

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