Colombian druglord Nestor Ramon Caro Chaparro, alias “El Duro,” has been arrested in the upmarket Ipanema neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, in a joint operation between the Brazilian and Colombian police, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Caro Chaparro, known by the aliases “El Duro” or “Felipe,” was wanted in the U.S. for his involvement in a “large-scale drug and money laundering operation responsible for smuggling bulk quantities of cocaine in sea containers from Brazil to the United States totaling over 5 metric tons,” according to the State Department.
The druglord was also implicated in an elaborate scheme to smuggle cocaine hidden in paper products into the U.S.
The U.S State Department had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of El Duro, who was one of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) most-wanted fugitives.
The State Department’s website says that Caro Chaporro “allegedly has close ties to the [now demobilized] Autodefensas Unidades de Colombia (AUC), a Colombian paramilitary organization that has been identified by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
The Colombian Prosecutor General’s Office issued a warrant for Caro Chaporro’s arrest in February 2008 for drug trafficking and money laundering.
Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said that Caro Chaparro had survived several cartel wars, evaded arrest many times and had even attempted to infiltrate intelligence agency DAS.
In 2004 the druglord invited four officers from the Colombian security forces to his wedding, two of whom have since been arrested. The ceremony was also attended by vallenato singers Jorge Celedon and “Poncho” Zuleta.
El Caro will be deported to Colombia in the coming days, then extradited to the United States.