Authorities on Monday claimed that “Megateo,” one of Colombia’s most feared drug lords, had been shot by a sniper. Nevertheless, police and soldiers looking for the former guerrilla have no idea where he is.
Early Monday morning, rumors emerged in Colombian media that Megateo, a drug lord trafficking cocaine from Colombia to Venezuela, had died or been injured by a sniper bullet.
Authorities said that they had been able to infiltrate the area just a few miles south of the Catatumbo region where the drug lord was hiding.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, police and military sources claimed to be certain one of their snipers was able to shoot the elusive drug lord on Sunday.
However, when between 300 and 350 troops entered the township of Guayabon they found nothing.
By Monday evening, there was still no trace of one of Colombia’s most wanted criminals in spite of a major manhunt in the area around the village where security forces claimed to have located Megateo.
Weekly Semana claimed that the sniper bullet did kill the drug lord, but that his men had removed their leader’s body before the special forces could enter the village.
One of Megateo’s suspected bodyguards was found dead at the scene.
The guerrilla-turned-drug lord has been on the run from justice since 1991 when the EPL, the guerrilla group he belonged to, demobilized.
Megateo and his men refused to demobilize and over the decades were able to seize significant control of drug trafficking routes in the Catatumbo region where a number of guerrilla and drug trafficking groups are currently active.
According to El Tiempo, the drug lord was able to forge alliances with leftist rebel groups like the FARC and ELN, with neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños” and the “Rastrojos” cartel, allowing him to become a centerpiece in regional drug trafficking.
The newspaper has claimed that Megateo is able to traffic some 200 tons of cocaine into Venezuela each year.
In a 2013 interview, his only one ever, he said allegations of his involvement in drug trafficking “is a vile lie,” claiming his group is only “taxing” the cocaine factories.
Nevertheless, the United States consider him one of the country’s main drug lords and — like with “Otoniel” of the Urabeños — offers a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest.