The Malta Independent 9 December 2018, Sunday

At least one person among 22 foreigners arrested in Colombia drug bust set to be extradited to Malta

Wednesday, 24 June 2015, 08:53 Last update: about 4 years ago

At least one person recently arrested in Colombia in connection with international drug trafficking operations is set to be extradited to Malta to face criminal proceedings, Colombian media is reported.

The reports state that 22 people hailing from different countries – Spain, Italy, Peru, the US and Malta are explicitly mentioned – have been arrested recently in various operations carried out by the police across the South American country, which is one of the world’s largest producers of cocaine.

However, the media reports available do not mention the identity of all the 22, limiting themselves to naming the most notable suspected drug traffickers, who are not linked to Malta.

These include Larry Yepes, who is accused of heading a network responsible for trafficking 30 tons of cocaine to Spain concealed in containers filled with flour and palm oil. Mr Yepes is set to be extradited to Spain, but is also set to face criminal proceedings in the US for drug trafficking.

Argentina’s most wanted drug trafficker Alejandro Garcia, known by the nickname “Gato Seco” has also been arrested in the Colombian capital of Bogotá. Mr Garcia is believed to have inherited the leadership of the Norte del Valle cartel after his brother was arrested in 2007.

Helmer Gonzalo Chavez is set to be sent to Spain to be tried for the trafficking of drugs from Latin America to Spain, from where it was further distributed to France, Italy and the Netherlands.

Angel Rodrigo Mateus Barreto is set to be charged with financing criminal operations in Colombia and coordinating the transportation and concealment of cocaine which was sent via Peru – another major cocaine producer – and distributed internationally. Oscar Elejalde Montoya is set to be extradited to Brazil to face drug trafficking charges.

But who is set to be extradited to Malta remains unclear. The available reports do not even clarify whether one or more persons are to be extradited, and whether any Maltese nationals are involved.

Questions were sent to the Malta Police Force’s Community and Media Relations Unit.

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