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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Feds charge Colombian drug lord called ‘Loco Barrera’ and two partners


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One of Colombia’s most-wanted drug traffickers with alleged ties to a narco-terrorist organization has been charged in Miami along with two other “high-level” partners, U.S. authorities said Monday. Daniel Barrera-Barrera, indicted in Miami on cocaine-smuggling conspiracy charges, operates mainly in the eastern part of Colombia between Bogota and the Venezuelan border. There, he maintains a partnership with the U.S.-designated terrorist group known as the FARC, composed of leftist guerrillas who allegedly play a major part in Colombia’s drug trade. The Colombian government has offered a $2.7 million reward for information leading to the capture of the defendant, aka “Loco Barrera,” who remains at large. In March, the Treasury Department designated Barrera-Barrera, 42, as a “specially designated narcotics trafficker,” because of his significant role in the international drug trade. In Miami, Barrera-Barrerra was charged with two brothers, Javier Fernandez-Barrero, 43, and Orlando Fernandez-Barrero, 45, who are known as “Los Gorditos.” They are in custody awaiting extradition to Miami. FBI Special Agent in Charge John Gillies said their “criminal enterprise is responsible for distributing tons of cocaine into the U.S and other countries.” Over the past year, U.S. and Colombian governments have opened up a new front in the war on drugs, zeroing in on emerging groups such as Barrera-Barrera’s that have competed to replace the once-powerful drug cartels in Medellín, Cali and the North Valley of Colombia, which authorities say have been largely dismantled. A new team of prosecutors has joined the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, in an alliance with Colombian investigators, to go after so-called bandas criminales, or criminal groups. So far, the U.S. has indicted more than 150 defendants in Miami as a result of that initiative, U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said. Earlier this month, Ferrer, his office’s chief of narcotics, George Karavetsos, and DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark Trouville flew to Colombia for an unprecedented meeting with that country’s president and attorney general to announce U.S. indictments filed against more than 50 leaders and associates of the bandas criminales.


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