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Colombian authorities arrest fugitive indicted in U.S. on cocaine charges

May 25, 2000
Web posted at: 8:23 p.m. EDT (2023 GMT)

MIAMI (CNN) -- U.S. officials said Thursday that Colombian authorities had arrested a high-ranking drug fugitive who is under indictment in the United States.

Jairo Garcia-Lozano, 51, was arrested on May 17 at Bogota's El Dorado Airport after he became separated from his six bodyguards at a security checkpoint, the FBI said in a statement.

The U.S. Department of Justice is filing a request for Garcia-Lozano to be extradited.

Also known as "El Mocho," Garcia-Lozano is part of the Diego Montoya-Sanchez drug-trafficking organization, the FBI said. He is accused of operating drug and money-laundering operations in Mexico, Canada and the United States.

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The United States has indicted Garcia-Lozano, Diego Montoya-Sanchez and others for conspiracy to import cocaine and money laundering.

Garcia-Lozano is described as Montoya-Sanchez's right hand man in drug trafficking operations. He is responsible for importing several tons of cocaine to the United States and laundering millions of dollars, the FBI said.

Authorities described Montoya-Sanchez as a leader of Colombia's North Valley drug cartel. He is being investigated for alleged participation in the murder of a priest and the massacre of more than 100 Colombians in the Trujillo section of the country in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the FBI said, citing the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.

Montoya-Sanchez, a fugitive in Colombia, is responsible for operations involving multi-ton shipments of cocaine paste, cocaine and heroin, the FBI said.

He is also accused of controlling cocaine processing laboratories.

His connections are alleged to extend throughout Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada and the United States.

The Colombian government is engaged in what U.S. officials say is an ambitious "eradication campaign" against its drug barons.

The effort has met with heavy resistance from traffickers and armed insurgents. But the Clinton administration plans to help it along with a $1.6 billion aid package as part of an international anti-drug partners certification program.

Much of the aid is earmarked for Colombia's military, but some is intended to help reform the country's judiciary and to foster economic alternatives to coca production, which grew sharply in 1999, according to the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy.



RELATED STORIES:
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April 13, 2000
Colombia's vice president lobbies for U.S. aid package
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Colombia drug production hits 'emergency' levels, U.S. says
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RELATED SITES:
U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Presidencia de la República (Spanish/English)
CIA World Factbook: Colombia

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