Venezuela sends drug suspects to US, Netherlands

AP News
Posted: Mar 21, 2011 5:17 PM
Venezuela sends drug suspects to US, Netherlands

Venezuela turned over a Colombian drug suspect to U.S. authorities Monday and sent five other suspects to the Netherlands and Colombia, where they face charges ranging from drug trafficking to murder.

Gloria Rojas Valencia, a 53-year-old Colombian, is accused by U.S. authorities of being a member of Mexico's Zetas drug gang, Venezuelan Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said.

Officials described her as the companion of Colombian drug suspect Luis Frank Tello Candelo, who was deported to the U.S. last year.

A 61-year-old Dutch citizen, Merk Anton Hernan, was being sent to the Netherlands, where he is wanted on charges of allegedly smuggling drugs from Colombia to Europe, El Aissami told state television at Caracas' international airport, where the suspects were led in handcuffs to be put on flights.

The Dutch suspect was captured in January in the northeastern Venezuelan city of Puerto La Cruz, El Aissami said.

Venezuelan authorities said they were also turning over to Colombia four other people wanted for crimes that include kidnapping, extortion, robbery and murder.

El Aissami said one of the four, Victor Manuel Gonzalez, was detained Jan. 21 and is wanted in Colombia on murder and other charges stemming from his alleged role as an assassin for a paramilitary group.

Another of the four being handed over to Colombia was identified as Magali Moreno, who was captured in 2009. Authorities previously described her as a former investigator for Colombian prosecutors who is wanted for collaborating with right-wing paramilitary fighters.