The arrest of Maximiliano Bonilla-Orozco at his home in Venezuela's third largest city of Valencia on Sunday was announced, perhaps not coincidentally, during a visit by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. After a five-hour meeting at the presidential palace, Santos thanked Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez for the "welcome gift" of capturing "a very high-value" drug trafficker "who has caused terrible damage to our country." Venezuelan Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami said Bonilla-Orozco, 39, would be extradited to the United States, where he was charged with drug trafficking in a 2008 indictment in a New York court. The United States accuses Bonilla-Orozco of trafficking several tons of cocaine from Colombia to the United States, and transporting more than $25 million in drug-related proceeds from the United States to Mexico. "Maximiliano Bonilla-Orozco is the leader of an extensive transnational narcotics exportation and transportation organisation that distributes thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Colombia, through Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, to the United States," a US State Department profile says.
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