BOGOTA – Venezuelan businessman Walid Makled, labeled by the U.S. government as one of the world’s top three drug kingpins, was arrested in northeastern Colombia, authorities said on Friday.
Makled was nabbed in the border city of Cucuta in a joint operation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Colombia’s national police director, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, told reporters in Bogota.
While the United States is seeking Makled’s extradition on drug charges, he is wanted in Venezuela for three murders.
Makled’s organization is responsible for smuggling more than 10 tons of cocaine per month into the United States and Europe, according to a fact sheet issued by Colombian police.
In May, the U.S. government identified the Venezuelan as one of the world’s three most-wanted drug lords.
Makled and his family allegedly used their legitimate businesses, including Aeropostal airlines and warehouses in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, to facilitate drug trafficking and launder the illicit proceeds.
Besides drug offenses, Makled is charged in Venezuela with the murders of Colombian drug kingpin Wilber Alirio Varela, lawyer and journalist Orel Zambrano and veterinarian Francisco Larrazabal. EFE