North Colombia mayor arrested for drug trafficking

Ómar Alejandro Vanegas

Police in the north of Colombia on Monday arrested a local mayor — wanted by the United States for drug trafficking — just as he left a meeting with the governor and fellow-burgomasters.

Mayor Omar Alejandro Vanegas was arrested in Santa Marta, the capital of the Magdalena department where his municipality lies.

The mayor was wanted by the Florida Southern District Court for his alleged role in the shipping of cocaine to the United States.

According to newspaper El Tiempo, the Florida court requested Vanegas’ extradition on May 14. This was subsequently approved by the national Prosecutor General’s Office which issued the arrest warrant on June 5.

Vanegas is not just in trouble with U.S. justice; the regional Inspector General’s Office is investigating the mayor for financial irregularities in his municipality for which he was temporarily suspended late last year.

The politician, a member of President Juan Manuel SantosU Party, was elected in 2011. The turnout in the Tenerife election was 40% higher than the average of his department.

Tenerife, Magdalena


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