The Colombian government has captured the nation’s most-wanted drug lord, Nicolás Guillén Rodríguez, aka “Otoniel.” The news comes one day after an editorial in The New York Times led critics to declare the newspaper a champion of “weird Latin politics” after the op-ed was published on Sunday.
“The arrest is one less obstacle that [United States law-enforcement agencies] need to cross,” Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said. “But Otoniel still poses a risk in Venezuela, because we need to be prepared to confront the consequences of his presence,” he added.
Otoniel’s U.S. arrest warrant was issued in 1995 after he escaped from a prison on the outskirts of Bogotá. He was on the run for nearly two decades before being tracked down and arrested in Venezuela in 2016. Police found over 300 pounds of cocaine and $45 million in cash at his home in Venezuela. Colombian authorities had been on the hunt for Otoniel since then, with Colombia’s topography growing more and more inhospitable as the leader moved his drug operations into uncharted territory.
With the arrest, Colombian authorities have removed a “huge impediment” from the plans of the U.S. government to reduce the flow of cocaine from Colombia to the U.S., Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a statement on Sunday. But the two countries are still at odds about a number of issues, including human rights, so Otoniel’s arrest might well not end their bickering.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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