Colombia arrests suspected drug trafficker for major Mexico cartel

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 29, 2014 4:00 PM

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombian authorities have arrested a Costa Rican man accused of trafficking shipments of cocaine to the United States on behalf of Mexico's infamous Sinaloa cartel.

Oscar Antonio Berrocal, 52, was detained late on Thursday after arriving in the Colombian capital Bogota on a flight from Ecuador, where he lives.

"Berrocal, known to authorities under the aliases Charlie, the Chef, Finquero and Rolex, is required by U.S. authorities for alleged cocaine trafficking," migration officials said in a statement. "In Colombia there is a valid order for his arrest and extradition."

Authorities said Berrocal is accused of coordinating the shipment of large quantities of cocaine to the United States for the Sinaloa cartel, one of the world's largest drug trafficking organizations, often via smuggling networks in Central America.

The cartel is infamous in Mexico, where its leader Joaquin Guzman, alias 'El Chapo', was captured in February after 13 years on the run.

Colombia is a principal producer of cocaine, with an annual output of about 290 tons, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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The country's once-prolific drug cartels have been weakened by U.S.-backed police offensives over the last two decades and now act mainly as suppliers for Mexican organizations.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)