CARACAS – The Venezuelan government handed over Tuesday to agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration three Colombians that it nabbed in the last few days and whom it identified as among the “most-wanted drug traffickers.”
Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami said that handing over these people was further evidence of the “undeniable results” in the war on drugs achieved by the government of President Hugo Chavez, efforts Washington labels insufficient.
“In accordance with international agreements, we are deporting three Colombian citizens wanted by Interpol for drug trafficking and other crimes,” El Aissami said at Caracas’ Maiquetia International Airport.
The three Colombians, put aboard a DEA aircraft under strong police guard, were identified as Carlos Renteria, Luis Tello and Carlos Ojeda.
The minister said that Renteria, arrested July 4 at a luxury residence in Caracas, is “one of the 10 most wanted drug traffickers in the world” as head of Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel.
The U.S. government had offered a $5-million reward for the capture of Renteria, 65, who is also accused of kidnapping and murder, the minister said.
Tello, accused of belonging to the Mexican cartel Los Zetas, was taken into custody on June 24, while Ojeda, known as the “engineer of the sea,” was nabbed the same day in the eastern state of Anzoategui and is wanted by the U.S. for heroin and cocaine trafficking.
Unlike Renteria, who did not look up and had apparently lost his nerve, Tello and Ojeda yelled and shouted insults at the minister as they were being taken to the DEA aircraft.
El Aissami recalled that 12 drug traffickers have now been arrested in Venezuela to date in 2010, which “ratifies the commitment of the government of President Hugo Chavez” to the war on drugs.
“We have struck as never before at these associations engaged in drug trafficking and crimes against humanity,” he said, adding that Venezuela is a victim of that racket because it is a neighbor of Colombia, a country that, he said, “is the leading producer” of drugs, especially cocaine, and for being situated “opposite the United States,” the main consumer of illegal substances.
Drug consumption, the Venezuelan minister said, is a “vice typical of the capitalist model” and contrary to the values promoted by the “socialist revolution” of Chavez. EFE