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Venezuela turns over wanted drug lord to Colombia

Associated Press Modified: November 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm •  Published: November 14, 2012

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan authorities deported a prominent drug trafficking suspect to Colombia on Wednesday, nearly two months after his capture in an operation aided by Colombian and U.S. authorities.

Colombian officials consider Daniel Barrera one of the country's most-wanted drug lords. Barrera was handcuffed as he was led to a waiting plane at Caracas' international airport along with two other drug suspects, including a U.S. citizen.

Venezuelan Justice Minister Nestor Reverol said Barrera had a false passport when he was captured in September in the southwestern Venezuelan city of San Cristobal.

Barrera is known as "El Loco," or "The Madman," and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has called him "the last of the great capos."

The 50-year-old Barrera was arrested after Colombian officials, who had been working with U.S. and British authorities, notified Venezuela that Barrera was making a call from one of dozens of public phones that were being monitored, officials said.

Colombia police say Barrera had been in Venezuela since 2008 and owned ranches worth millions of dollars. Colombian police had offered a reward of about $2.5 million for information leading to his arrest.

The authorities have said Barrera operated in a swath of eastern Colombia including areas along the border in Venezuela, and had a drug smuggling alliance with rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC.

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