Suspected Drug Smuggler Captured
Sep. 15, 2002
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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Colombian police and U.S. drug agents captured a suspected drug smuggler wanted in the United States on trafficking charges, authorities said Saturday.
Mauricio Espinosa Ramirez was arrested Friday in Bogota by police and agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Authorities weren't able to confirm his identity until Saturday, said Col. Daniel Castiblanco, acting director of Colombia's judicial police.
Espinosa, 32, is believed to have helped organize a shipment of nearly 10 tons of cocaine bound for the United States that was seized in Mexico in December 2001, said Castiblanco.
He said a federal district court in Florida had requested Espinosa's extradition.
Espinosa is believed to have been smuggling cocaine to the United States and Europe for at least five years, police said. The cocaine, usually hidden inside industrial machinery, was shipped from Colombian ports through Central America and Mexico, Castiblanco said.