Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 9/7/2001 9:08:46 PM EDT
Guess he must have backed the wrong canidate in the last election. Now Cali are the undisputed masters of the Cocaine trade.
Alleged Drug Lord Ochoa Flown to U.S. By MARGARITA MARTINEZ .c The Associated Press BOGOTA, Colombia (Sept. 8) - Fabio Ochoa, a former leader of the notorious Medellin cartel, was extradited to Miami Friday to stand trial for allegedly shipping tons of cocaine to the United States, a senior U.S. official said. Ochoa became the highest-profile Colombian extradited to the United States in more than a decade. His handover was a victory for U.S. officials for who have long sought the extradition of Colombian drug lords who are flooding the United States with cocaine and heroin. ''He's on the plane! He's on his way,'' the U.S. official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The handover comes four days before Secretary of State Colin Powell is to visit Bogota. President Andres Pastrana, who signed Ochoa's extradition papers last month, was kidnapped by the Medellin cartel in 1988 when he was running for mayor of Bogota. Judge Claudia Merchan suspended the extradition on Aug. 31 on a request from Ochoa's lawyer, but ruled on Friday that Ochoa's extradition was in order. His family fought bitterly to stop his extradition. ''Justice did not triumph, and all Colombians have lost,'' Martha Nieves Ochoa, Fabio Ochoa's sister, told reporters from the family's home in Medellin. In Washington, the State Department warned Americans in Colombia to take extra security precautions following Ochoa's extradition. In a statement released Friday night, the department noted ''the past history of narcotics traffickers conducting bombings in public areas as a reprisal for or deterrent to extradition.'' Ochoa faces a federal indictment from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., alleging he was part of a gang that exported 30 tons of cocaine a month to the United States. In 1990, Ochoa was the first major Colombian trafficker to surrender in return for a promise that he would not be extradited. But U.S. prosecutors seeking his extradition say Ochoa resumed trafficking cocaine after leaving a Colombian jail in 1996. Ochoa was arrested in October 1999 along with dozens of other suspected traffickers. The Medellin cartel capo Pablo Escobar waged a war of bombings and assassinations in the 1980s and early 1990s in order to avoid trial and imprisonment in the United States. He was gunned down by police in 1993.
View Quote
Link Posted: 9/7/2001 9:09:16 PM EDT
Carlos Lehder, delivered to U.S. authorities in 1987, was the last major cartel figure to be extradited. He was sentenced in Jacksonville to life without parole, plus 135 years. Under the Medellin cartel's pressure, extradition was declared unconstitutional in 1991. Colombia reinstated extradition in December 1997 at the request of the United States. Ochoa is the best known of three dozen Colombians extradited to the United Sates since then. Ochoa fought his battle against extradition peacefully - with legal appeals, an Internet page outlining his defense, and by erecting billboards in Bogota and his native Medellin proclaiming: ''Yesterday I made a mistake. Today I am innocent.'' The baby-faced youngest son of a prominent Medellin horse-breeding clan, Ochoa joined Escobar's drug empire along with two older brothers. When they were released from jail in 1996, the three promised to never get involved in the drug business again. The U.S. extradition request, based largely on bugged conversations, says Ochoa broke his pledge. It claims he contributed his know-how to the exporting ring and helped provide cocaine, airplanes and smuggling routes. Two other men, Jairo Mesa and Mario Sanchez Cristancho, who were captured in the same joint DEA-Colombian operation in 1999, were to have been extradited with Ochoa. It could not be confirmed if they were put on the plane with him. Extradition has long been a top U.S. priority in Colombia. American officials complain that traffickers are able to threaten and bribe their way out of justice in Colombia. Despite years of U.S.-backed drug-fighting efforts, Colombia remains the world's leading cocaine exporting nation and an increasingly important source of the heroin sold in the United States. AP-NY-09-08-01 0036EDT
View Quote
Top Top