Rastrojo was the military head of Colombia’s largest drug gang, “Los Rastrojos.” He was nabbed by Venezuelan police Sunday morning with the help of Colombian intelligence.
“I spoke with Chavez a few minutes ago and thanked him for his collaboration. He said that the criminal will be sent here to Colombia within days,” said President Santos in an official press release. “I take this opportunity to once again congratulate the police for this important blow to criminal gangs, drug trafficking and crime in general with the capture of alias Diego Rastrojo in Venezuela.”
The Venezuelan interior and justice minister, Tareck El Aissami, called Rastrojo’s arrest “one of the most significant results in the history of Venezuela in the fight against drug trafficking mafias.”
Authorities were on Rastrojo’s tracks for three months before he was arrested in rural Venezuela posing as a foreman. A reward of $665,000 will be given to two informants who tipped off investigators to the druglord’s whereabouts, according to the National Police’s sub-director General·Jose Roberto Leon Riaño.
Colombian police filed an arrest warrant with the foreign ministry Monday to make Rastrojo’s deportation to Colombia official. Authorities will then decide whether to extradite him to the U.S. where he is wanted on drug trafficking charges.
Sunday’s reported arrest came a month after one of the two supreme leaders of the Rastrojos, Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias “Comba,” reportedly surrendered to U.S. authorities on the Caribbean island of Aruba and only weeks after the arrest of Ivan Dario Barrero Acevedo, alias “Pizarro,” who was expected to replace Rastrojo in the case of promotion.