Venezuela has “shown its commitment to the war against drugs” by the capture of the Colombian drug lord Daniel “El Loco” Barrera, said the country’s foreign ministry in a statement Wednesday.
The capture of “the last great capo” on a Venezuelan street on Tuesday was thanks to the country’s anti-drugs forces, said a communication from the Venezuelan foreign ministry.
“With this new arrest, Venezuela again demonstrates its unwavering commitment to the struggle against narco-trafficking,” said the statement.
The arrest of El Loco Barrera while making a call from a phone booth in the Venezuelan town of San Cristobal followed dozens of failed attempts and four months of cooperation between Colombia’s national Police, the U.S. intelligence agency CIA, British intelligence agency MI6 and the Venezuelan anti-narcotics police.
According to Colombia’s Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon, the kingpin had been in Venezuela for the past eight months under a false name and was running his business while moving between several towns near the Colombian border.
Media reported that Barrera’s massive wealth allowed him to profoundly corrupt local police authorities in Venezuela, holding off his eventual arrest for years and allowing him to travel to Brazil and Argentina.
Representatives from each participating organization met in London last week to finalize the details of the sting.
Colombia’s defense minister said he is waiting for the Venezuelans to extradite Barrera either to Colombia or the United States, where the drug lord has been indicted on charges of drug trafficking.