Global Drug “capo” arrested in Buenos Aires, with close ties to Sinaloa Cartel and Colombian cocaine kingpins, will be extradited to the U.S.
With the support of DEA and CIA, the attorney general Guillermo Marijuán facilitated in the detention of “Lucho”.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A suspected Colombian drug trafficker who operated under the radar for years in Argentina was described Friday as a ringleader capable of giving direct orders to Colombia’s most-wanted cocaine kingpins and with close ties to Mexico’s feared Sinaloa cartel.
Luis Caicedo Velandia was arrested as he walked near a Buenos Aires shopping mall April 12 and has been held under extremely high security, according to Argentine authorities, who did not reveal his capture until the United States formally filed a request for his extradition this week.
Caicedo, a former Colombian police official who carried a false Guatemalan passport, is responsible for moving tons of cocaine into the U.S. and laundering billions of dollars in profits, Argentine drug prosecutor Guillermo Marijuan told The Associated Press.
The arrest of Caicedo and three alleged co-conspirators in the United States and Colombia has exposed “one of the most powerful drug trafficking rings on the continent,” Oscar Naranjo, who directs Colombia’s national police force, told the AP in Bogota. Caicedo, he said, was “capable of giving direct orders” to Colombian cartel leaders.
Representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, the Justice Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Washington declined to comment on the indictment filed in New York City, saying it is a continuing investigation.
U.S. officials presented a case file more than 300 pages thick in support of his extradition, a process scheduled to begin within 10 days that can be appealed up to Argentina’s Supreme Court, Marijuan said.
Luis Caicedo had been an agent of the colombian CTI.
Without having ever appeared on the posters of the most wanted and without reward millions on his head, Agustin Caicedo Luis Velandia, a former agent of CTI, he switched sides, and was strengthened in the last five years as one of the country’s most powerful drug traffickers .
The main function for the colombian CTI is to advise the Attorney General (Fiscal General) in the determination of policies and strategies related with the judicial police functions, in the topics as crime investigation, forensic services, genetic services and in the management of the technical and judicial information useful for penal investigation.
Furthermore, the CTI takes care of planning, arranging, managing, controlling and executing the functions of Judicial Police in La Fiscalia. It organizes and controls the fulfillment of the investigation policies and strategies, forensic and genetic services and the management of useful data in the penal investigation inside the CTI.
Also, the CTI, advise the Attorney General (Fiscal General) in the planning of strategies and procedures related to security and communications in the different territorial levels of the bureau. CTI promotes the exchange of information among the Colombian security offices to develop operations against the delinquency.
Silently and with the lowest profile, Caicedo, known by the alias ‘Lucho’, left the country and settled in Argentina, where he was captured on April 12 in a raid by the DEA. The Dijin said he was the “owner” of the seized $ 27 million in September last year in Buenaventura.
In April the same operation, in the U.S. the former agent was arrested the DAS Villarraga Ricardo Franco, and were subsequently arrested Otálora Claudio Javier Silva, alias ‘El Patron’, and Alain Gaitán Marentes Franklin, aka “Sergio.”
A police informant said these were the head of a gang even bigger than the Ochoa brothers and Pablo Escobar, and Caicedo is the head of the largest drug trafficking organization in the last 15 years,” said Gen. Gilberto Ramirez, director of the Dijin.
Authorities are investigating whether the gang had links with the Santa Fe football team .
One of the keys to dismantle the network was the capture of a police captain, who was part of the organization and assured him classified information. The officer, who was arrested in april, has provided crucial information to the authorities to determine that Caicedo, who appeared in files such as money launderer, was the same as ‘Lucho’ who had advised and done business with drug traffickers as “Lollipop.”
Caicedo, 43, moved between Argentina and Central America. From the outside had contacts with partners in the country, and ‘sponsored’ several drug shipments.
“They were the owners of money, which funded the cocaine to take to different parts of the world,” the prosecutor said yesterday Ana Margarita Duran, chief of the Narcotics and Maritime Interdiction Unit of the Prosecutor (Unaim).
Villarraga, meanwhile, was first arrested last April. After his retirement from the colombian intelligence agency DAS, in 1994, following a scandal over the leak of Puerto Rican drug Buitrón Fernando Montañez, was devoted to legal aspects and according to Dijin, was responsible for the legal part of the organization.
For his part, Silva or ‘Master’, another of the partners of active in the Central Wholesale Market of Bogotá. Police captured him in Puerto Gaitán (Meta), 12 May.
Silva faces a money laundering investigation. In April the authorities expropriated 100 properties valued at 72,000 million colombian nd pesos.
And Franklin Gaitan, pointed to handle the security of the band, the Police arrested him on April 13 in Bogota.