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Colombian police find massive drug money stash hidden in houses

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The houses are located in Colombia's capital
  • Police say they belong to drug lord Daniel "El Loco" Barrera
  • The defense minister says it is the "biggest drug-money seizure" in the country's history

(CNN) -- Colombian authorities have found more than $29 million and 17 million euros in cash in two hiding places belonging to one of the country's most wanted drug lords, officials said.

Investigators acting on a tip uncovered a massive stash Monday in the nation's capital, Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera told reporters.

The bricks of cash were found in homes belonging to Daniel "El Loco" Barrera, the national police said in a statement. Raids over the past month have netted a total of more than $140 million, police said.

Monday's find was part of the "biggest drug-money seizure operation in the country's history," Rivera said.

"With this operation we have broken the financial system of one of the drug trafficking groups that particularly monopolized the transport of cocaine hydrocholoride from Colombia to Mexico and Europe," said Maj. Gen. Oscar Adolfo Naranjo Trujillo, director of Colombia's national police.

In March, the U.S. Department of the Treasury said Barrera played a "significant role in international narcotics trafficking," noting in a statement that the Colombian government was offering a $2.5 million reward for his capture.

The statement said Barrera and partner Pedro Oliverio Guerrero Castillo operate primarily in the eastern plains of Colombia, between the capital of Bogota and the Venezuelan border.

U.S. officials allege Barrera has a partnership with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Marxist guerrilla organization also known as the FARC.

CNN's Edwin Mesa contributed to this report.