Police Capture A Top Man in Bogota Cartel
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Police swept across the capital on anti-drug raids and captured nine suspected members of the cocaine cartel based here, including a top member wanted in the United States, authorities said today.
The suspect, Jesus Emilio Zapata, and the eight other alleged members of the Bogota cartel were arrested in one of 20 raids in the capital Thursday.
Police said they also seized five cars, an unspecified quantity of weapons, communications equipment, and records of bank accounts holding $60 million.
A police statement said Zapata led the international operations of the drug-trafficking group, based on a farm near the northern Bogota suburb of Suba.
U.S. authorities want to prosecute Zapata on drug-trafficking charges, the statement said. However, his name is not on a list the U.S. Justice Department prepared last year of the top 12 Colombian drug traffickers it is seeking.
The government of President Virgilio Barco has already extradited 11 drug suspects to the United States since it intensified a campaign against the cocaine cartels in August.
It is not known if the Bogota cartel has been operating in cooperation with either of the country’s two main cocaine cartels, which are based in the cities of Medellin and Cali.
Earlier this week, police arrested Joaquin Oswaldo Gallo Chamorro, who allegedly directed the Medellin cartel’s Atlantic coast operations after the former director, Jose Rafael Abello Silva, was arrested and extradited to the United States on Oct. 29.
Also today, the government announced a new surtax on personal and corporate income to help finance its war on the drug cartels.
Colombian businesses and individuals will pay a surtax of 5 percent of their 1989 income tax, according to a presidential decree.
The government estimates the surtax will increase its revenues by up to $33 million. The decree said only the wealthiest businesses and individuals would pay the tax.