Colombian Pres. OKs Kingpin Extradition
%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ President Alvaro Uribe approved the extradition of a Colombian drug kingpin to the United States Wednesday, officials said.
Victor Patino Fomeque, who is being held by Colombian authorities, is accused of laundering money and trafficking drugs to Florida. He has 15 days to appeal the extradition.
The Colombian Supreme Court initially approved the extradition request for Patino last Wednesday.
Patino, once a leading member of the former Cali drug cartel, served seven years in a Colombian prison for drug trafficking. In April, just two months after being released, he was arrested on a US. warrant by during searches of homes and businesses in downtown Bogota after a string of bombs hit the capital.
Earlier this month, Gilberto Rodriguez Orjuela, the former head of the Cali cartel, walked free from prison despite frantic efforts by U.S. and Colombian authorities to find new charges against him to block his release.
Rodriguez left prison Nov. 7 after a Colombian judge upheld a court order that Rodriguez be released early because he took part in a work-study program in prison. He served less than half his sentence.