Reputed Bolivian Cocaine Kingpin Arrested
SAN MARINO, Calif. (AP) _ A Bolivian described by officials as a powerful cocaine trafficker and lead supplier of unrefined coca to the Colombian cartels was arrested at his 19- room estate by federal drug agents.
Jorge Roca Suarez and his wife, Cecilia Beatrice Roca Torres, were arrested Thursday for investigation of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, said Julius C. Beretta, the Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in San Diego.
Both were in federal custody. Bail was not immediately set.
Beretta described Roca Suarez, a resident immigrant, as ″one of the most significant cocaine traffickers in the United States, on par with Medellin or Cali cartel leaders.″
A federal indictment against the couple was expected to be unsealed at their arraignment today.
Roca Suarez was arrested at 2 p.m. Thursday by San Marino police and DEA, U.S. Customs and Internal Revenue Service agents, said police Officer Armando Rodriguez.
The 38-year-old Bolivian was taken into custody at his estate on a manicured hillside in an exclusive enclave of this town 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. His wife, 40, was arrested in nearby Monterey Park, Beretta said.
Roca Suarez is the nephew of Roberto Suarez Gomez, who’s serving a 15-year sentence on drug charges in La Paz, Bolivia.
Bolivian officials have refused U.S. extradition requests for Suarez, who built a reputation as that country’s king of cocaine in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Roca Suarez once offered to pay the Bolivian foreign debt. The Bolivian government rejected the offer.
DEA officials said Roca Suarez allegedly undercut his uncle by selling cocaine paste at prices lower than those charged by Suarez. He reputedly is the most powerful figure in Bolivia’s coca trade, arranging cocaine shipments to U.S. and European markets, the officials alleged.