“The pressure within Colombia is very great [for the traffickers]: On one side you have harassment from the authorities who want to catch them and, on the other, pressure from their enemies who want them dead. So, they believe it is safer abroad,” said an officer involved in the operations.
“But, with the exception of Venezuela, the police forces share information and in most countries on the continent there aree very good partnerships which make it possible for them to search anywhere,” the officer continued.
Two major arrests this month of Colombian drug traffickers were those of Nestor Ramon Caro, alias El Duro, and Ramon Quintero.
Nestor Ramon Caro was arrested in Brazil by the Special Investigation Group of the Colombian judicial police (DIJIN) after more than five years on the run.
Caro was a major player in the drug trade of eastern Colombia, controlling much of the production of cocaine and some of the main trafficking routes into Venezuela. He evaded capture on many occasions – 38 times between 2007 and 2008 alone – but was arrested in April 2010 after a two year chase by DIJIN.
Knowing his weakness for beautiful women, the police convinced two young girls in Caro’s group to inform on the trafficker. After winning the trust of the boss’ companions, they gained access to the places he was hiding.
Caro was first sighted in Venezuela, but due to lack of cooperation from the lcoal authorities, he was able to escape. Hiding in Panama, the drug lord escaped capture three times and fled to Brazil, but the police informants managed to stay in touch with him and reported his position to the Colombian authorities. In an operation involving the DEA and ICE agencies in the U.S. and the Federal Police of Brazil, Caro was caught April 16, for extradition to the U.S.
Three days earlier, on April 13, another of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) top ten most wanted drug traffickers was arrested in Quito, Ecuador. Ramon Quintero had spent 30 years in the cocaine industry, dominating operations in and around the Valle department.
When he was added to the DEA’s most wanted list, he sought refuge in Venezuela, Panama, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador, shaking a panel of the Directorate of Police Investigation from his trail. He was finally arrested in a joint operation between Ecuadorean and Colombian forces.