Colombia’s security forces killed drug lord “Megateo” in an offensive in the northeast of the country. The killing is the second major blow to Colombian drug trafficking operations this week.
Megateo, who led a small but powerful guerrilla army in the northeastern Catatumbo region, was killed in combat in the municipality of Haraci on Thursday evening, locals told newspaper El Espectador.
The slain drug lord was one of the main cocaine traffickers to Venezuela, a major international hub for the trade of Colombian drugs.
Authorities have been trying to either arrest or kill Megateo for years, but weren’t able to come close to the drug lord until a week ago, when a police sniper allegedly injured the guerrilla-turned-narco.
According to locals who talked to El Espectador, a number of Megateo’s top bodyguards were also killed in the combat that was reportedly still ongoing on Friday morning.
Radio station Blu reported the death of six of Megateo’s men.
The commander of the National Army’s 30th Brigade would not confirm the alleged death, but told El Espectador that Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas was preparing a press conference on the operations against Megateo and his EPL group that controls much of the drug trafficking in Catatumbo.
Former Defense Minister and current ambassador to Washington DC, Juan Carlos Pinzon confirmed Megateo’s death on his Twitter account, where he congratulated the armed forces for the successful operation.
The death of Megateo would be the second major blow against the drug trade this week; earlier this week a police sniper killed “Pijarvey,” the boss of the neo-paramilitary “Libertadores de Vichada” group which controls drug trafficking routes from coca fields in the center of Colombia to the Venezuelan border.
Colombia’s military forces have been focusing their efforts on drug trafficking organizations after an agreement with rebel group FARC to deescalate armed conflict, while the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos and the country’s largest rebel group continue peace negotiations.