Venezuela arrests alleged Colombian drug kingpin

Story highlights

  • Diego Perez Henao is best known by his alias "Diego Rastrojo"
  • He is expected to be sent to Colombia soon, says the president
  • The United States offered $5 million for information leading to his capture
Venezuelan authorities have arrested an alleged Colombian drug trafficker, the Colombian president said Monday.
Diego Perez Henao, better known by his alias "Diego Rastrojo," was arrested Sunday morning in the western state of Barinas, Venezuelan state news reported. That country's interior minister hailed the capture as one of the most significant accomplishments in its fight against organized crime.
U.S. and Colombian officials had been offering millions of dollars for information leading to his arrest.
"I spoke minutes ago with (Venezuelan President Hugo) Chavez," said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. "He told me that within a few days he would send this criminal here to Colombia."
Perez Henao, 41, is the alleged leader of a paramilitary group known as "Los Rastrojos," according to the U.S. State Department. He is accused of being a former founding member of the Norte del Valle drug cartel and is thought to be the supply source for multi-ton loads of cocaine smuggled into the United States.
Perez Henao was indicted in 2011 in the Southern District of Florida for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine.
He is linked to kidnappings, tortures and assassination in Colombia, Venezuela and Panama, according to the State Department, which offered up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest.