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Alleged leader of Colombia's Rastrojos drug gang arrested

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:32 AM EDT, Tue May 8, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Javier Antonio Calle Serna turns himself in to U.S. authorities in Aruba
  • He was the leader of the trafficking organization Rastrojos, Colombian police say
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration arrests and transports him to New York

(CNN) -- A top Colombian drug trafficker who partnered with Mexican cartels to smuggle cocaine into the United States turned himself in to U.S. authorities in Aruba, Colombian police said.

Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias "Comba," is wanted in Colombia and the United States on organized crime and drug trafficking allegations.

The leader of the Rastrojos, as his group is known, surrendered after being "cornered by pressure of the national police," the Colombian forces said.

The Rastrojos, with at least 1,200 in its ranks, is arguably the most powerful drug trafficking cartel in Colombia, according to InSight Crime, which monitors organized crime in the Americas. The group is now leaderless.

In all, 16 of Calle Serna's relatives and alleged collaborators surrendered to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Friday. Colombian authorities shared the news only this week.

The arrests happened after months of negotiations, the Colombian police said.

Instead of Colombia, Calle Serna was transported to New York, where he was indicted in federal court.

According to the superseding indictment, filed last year, Calle Serna is the principal leader of the Rastrojos. U.S. authorities consider it a paramilitary organization that controls the drug trade along Colombia's Pacific coast.

"Los Rastrojos exported multi-ton loads of cocaine from Colombia to the United States, via Mexico, Venezuela and other countries in South and Central America," the indictment says.

He accomplished this by partnering with Mexican cartels, the indictment says.

In the search for Calle Serna, Colombian police intercepted more than 3,000 telephone calls, which the country's attorney general authorized, police said.

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