Bogota – Colombian police announced Monday the capture of 14 suspected drug traffickers wanted for extradition to the United States.
The director of the force, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, told a press conference that among those arrested was Dionisio de Jesus Vera Olmos, who took over the gang's business "when police mounted an operation to find its kingpin," Daniel Barrera.
Vera is also suspected of forging an alliance with the head of the Erpac militia group, Jose Eberto Lopez Montero.
Of the 14 taken into custody, six were nabbed in Bogota, five in Barranquilla, two in Cartagena and one in Puerto Boyaca.
According to police, those under arrest were in charge of coca-paste production in the central province of Meta, processing the paste into cocaine in labs controlled by Erpac and shipping the drug to the Atlantic coast and the Venezuelan state of Apure.
Police investigations also indicate that gang members were laundering money from drug sales through front operations both inside and outside of Colombia.
Vera and other drug traffickers sent an average of 1.5 tons of cocaine from clandestine runways in Venezuela, and from the Caribbean ports of Barranquilla and Cartagena in containers of large freighters headed for the Dominican Republic and Honduras, where the front companies received and stored the drugs.
From there the drugs were sent to Europe and the United States.