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Colombia arrests alleged drug traffickers
Four suspects captured by Colombian police in the cities of Medellin and Bogota in joint operation with US authorities.
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2012 04:15
Colombia will make the final decision as to whether the suspects will in fact be extradited to the US [EPA]

Colombian authorities have announced the arrest of four drug traffickers wanted for extradition to the US.

Police officials confirmed on Monday that they had arrested three men suspected of smuggling cocaine into the US over the weekend in Medellin, 200km north of the Colombian capital, Bogota.

In a separate operation, a woman accused of money laundering for the former paramilitary boss Salvatore Mancuso was also arrested in Bogota.

"... Besides bringing them to justice we've been able to capture them with the intent to extradite them"

- Luis Alberto Perez,
Head of anti-narcotics in Colombia

Colombia's head of anti-narcotics Luis Alberto Perez said the men were suspected of moving cocaine to contacts in New York in suitcases with hidden compartments.

Perez added that an arrest last year prompted the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to work with Colombian authorities on the investigation leading to the arrests.

"These citizens are wanted for collaborating with sending drugs to the United States. This is an investigation that was carried out after three North American citizens were suspected of repeated entrances into the country. We co-ordinated information with the DEA and in June 2011 we arrested three citizens who were trying to enter the United States with thirteen kilograms of cocaine base," Perez said.

"Those arrests and the flow of information between the two agencies culminated in the investigative process here in Colombia, where besides bringing them to justice we've been able to capture them with the intent to extradite them," he added.

The arrested woman suspect, whom police identified as Jimena Barreto Salamanca, is accused of laundering at least $10m through illegitimate businesses in Brazil, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela.

She is wanted for extradition to the state of Virginia.

Colombia will make the final decision as to whether the suspects will in fact be extradited.

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