Colombia awaits extradition of drug trafficker

AP News
Posted: Nov 09, 2012 4:28 PM

BOGOTA (AP) — Colombian police are waiting for the extradition of a drug trafficker caught in Venezuela who they say is one of the main suppliers of Mexican cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, one of the world's most sought-after drug lords.

Police said Jorge Milton Cifuentes Villa was captured in Venezuela late Thursday and would be deported to Colombia in the coming days. A U.S. court in Florida is also asking for his extradition on drug trafficking charges.

"The organization of Cifuentes Villa is one of the main suppliers of cocaine for the Sinaloa cartel," which is headed by Guzman, Colombian police Gen. Jose Roberto Leon said at a news conference Friday.

Known as "JJ," Cifuentes Villa was captured with the help of tips provided to Colombia's Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Interpol. His arrest was announced by Venezuela's interior and justice ministers Thursday via Twitter.

Leon praised the capture by Venezuelan authorities and said the 47-year-old Cifuentes Villa had tried to use a false identification document using the name Juan Carlos Lopez Mejia before he was caught.

The suspect's brother, Francisco Cifuentes Villa, was a well-known member of a right-wing paramilitary group that doubled as a drug trafficking operation. He was murdered in 2007 at a farm in Colombia's northeastern state of Antioquia.

Francisco Cifuentes Villa allegedly began dealing drugs with the feared Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, who headed the Medellin cartel until he was killed in December 1993.

Police say that after Francisco Cifuentes Villa was killed, his siblings took over the illegal business and forged an alliance with Guzman.

Colombian police say the Cifuentes Villa brothers sent about 30 tons of cocaine to the United States in the past three years. Police say Jorge Milton Cifuentes Villa owns about 40 businesses in Latin America, Spain and the United States while the Cifuentes Villa family has amassed a fortune of some $331 million.