Colombian authorities on Tuesday said they have arrested 14 alleged members of the officially demobilized EPL rebel group.
“CTI captured 14 extraditable members of the organization of the narco-trafficker Victor Navarro Serrano, alias ‘Megateo’,” the Prosecutor General’s twitter account said.
The alleged gang members who have been requested by the Court of the Southern District of Florida on charges of drug-trafficking and money laundering, were arrested as the result of a two year operation to uncover a drug-trafficking operation from Colombia to the U.S. and Europe, according to Radio Caracol.
The raids were carried out in at least five Colombian cities including Bogota and Medellin, where unsuspecting gang members were allegedly caught with important documentation, and $10 million was said to have been seized in houses used for money laundering in Bogota.
The rebel-turned-drug-trafficker Megateo, labelled as “one of the most feared and beligerent men” in the northern Colombian Catatumbo region where he controls drug operations, has a one million dollar reward on his head.
In 2006 Megateo, head of a dissident faction of the EPL guerrilla movement which officially demobilized in 1991, allegedly ordered an assault on authorities in the northern Santander department which resulted in the deaths of 10 detectives and six soldiers.
In the aftermath of this devastating assault Megateo went into hiding, but soon became a major drug lord in the region, allegedly now producing up to two tons of cocaine a month and with major operations in arms trafficking, drug trafficking, assassinations, extortion and kidnapping.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, police say the gang is responsible for the deaths of approximately 100 soldiers due to mines and explosives detonated to avoid capture.
The organization, which has alleged ties with the FARC guerrilla group, the smaller ELN, and members of the “Rastrojos” and “Urabeños” criminal gangs, allegedly transported drugs through Central America and the Caribbean to contacts in Holland and the U.S.