Colombian authorities have detained the alleged mastermind behind the assassination of Venezuelan deputy Robert Serra and his partner Maria Herrera, local media reported on Thursday.
According to the reports, Leiva Padilla Mendoza, alias “El Colombiano” was detained on Wednesday during an operation by National Criminal Investigation Department (Dijin) in Cartagena, in the north of the country.
Mendoza was arrested in broad daylight in the center of city. At the time of apprehension, he was accompanied by his girlfriend.
“El Colombiano” or ” Colombia” has been issued a “red notice” by Interpol, which is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today. According to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the individual has been operating under false identities to evade the authorities.
Although little has been revealed about “El Colombiano”, El Tiempo claims he is of dual Colombian and Venezuelan nationality and was born in Caracas in 1981 to a Colombian mother.
Robert Serra, 27, and his partner were stabbed to death in their residence in Caracas on October 1.
In the wake of the murder, Maduro announced that a Colombian paramilitary group collaborated in the killing of the young Venezuelan congressman.
Later that month, Maduro declared he was in possession of information that allegedly pointed to the “intellectual authors” of the assassination being the “criminal band” directed by ex-president of Colombia Alvaro Uribe, as well as actors in Miami protected by the U.S. government.
Another suspect in the case has been identified as Farinez Palomino, or “El Emme”, who together with Mendoza and six other man allegedly broke into the house of Serra and assassinated the congressman and his partner.
More detailed information about the arrest is expected from Colombian and Venezuelan authorities in the coming hours.