Venezuelan authorities nabbed a suspected Colombian drug trafficker wanted for extradition by the United States in an operation on the island of Margarita, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said on Twitter.
Juan Carlos Peña Silva, 26, was arrested at a residence in the city of Pampatar.
"The detained suspect was the subject of an Interpol Red Notice and wanted by Colombia and the United States as head of an international criminal organization," Reverol wrote Thursday.
Agents with Venezuela's National Anti-Drug Office and the Bolivarian National Guard took part in the operation.
"We won't allow the drug gangs to use our territory. The fight continues," the minister added. He also posted the image of the suspect's passport, which had been issued in Peña Silva's home city of Bogota.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday thanked Venezuelan authorities for the collaboration that led to the arrest and noted that the suspect "was the key person in the entire trafficking" of drugs and weapons from some regions of Colombia via the Caribbean.
"We'd been after him for a long time," Santos said.
Cooperation between Venezuelan and Colombian authorities has resulted in the arrests of several major drug suspects in recent months in Venezuela.
On Nov. 14, Venezuela deported reputed drug kingpin Daniel "El Loco" Barrera and another Colombian drug-trafficking suspect, Jorge Milton Cifuentes Villa, back to their homeland. A third man, Dominican-born U.S. citizen Eduardo Acosta Mejia, was also expelled that same day.
Reverol described Barrera at the time of his deportation as "one of the most-wanted men in the world," noting that he stands accused of smuggling more than 31 tons of cocaine into the United States.
Both Colombia and the United States want to try Barrera for drug-related offenses.
"El Loco" was apprehended on Sept. 18 in the western Venezuelan state of Tachira, bordering Colombia, where he had been hiding out since 2008. EFE