Venezuelan authorities report the arrest of Colombian cocaine smuggler Luis Frank Tello Candelo, alias “El Negro Frank” who is wanted by the United States on drug charges.
According to Venezuelan interior minister Tareck El Aissami, Venezuelan police arrested 47-year-old El Negro Frank on Wednesday in the state of Miranda, alongside a Mexican alleged narco-trafficker from the “Los Zetas” cartel.
El Aissami said that the Colombian trafficker was also arrested in Colombia in 1996, but freed in 1999 when a judge ordered his release due to lack of evidence, after his file mysteriously disappeared from Colombian intelligence agency DAS’ archives, in addition to those of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and CIA.
Colombian cartels are known to use Venezuela and a major transit point for moving cocaine to both the United States and Europe, and the U.S. and Colombian governments have called on Venezuela to do more to fight the flow of cocaine.
According to a United Nations report released in early June, half of the cocaine that arrives to Europe comes from Venezuela.
El Aissami announced that in addition to the capture of “El Negro Frank,” Venezuelan authorities have also taken down ten other major drug kingpins in 2010, and seized roughly 30 metric tons of narcotics.