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The Collective
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: Colombian ‘drug lord’ is captured

Police in Colombia have captured the man they regard as the country’s top drug baron, Diego Montoya.


Mr Montoya - known in Colombia’s underworld as the “boss of bosses” - appears on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “10 Most Wanted” list.


Colombia’s Defence Minister, Juan Manuel Santos, said Mr Montoya controlled a vast trafficking network responsible for about 70% of the cocaine smuggled to the US and Europe.

Mr Montoya’s private army of assassins, called Los Machos, was behind some 1,500 killings, Mr Santos said.

It would appear that Montoya will be extradited to the US-which is a continuation of President Uribe’s policies in these matters (which is a switch from

Of course, this capture will disrupt the cartel to some degree, but it will hardly stop the flow of cocaine. Even if the arrest somehow leads to the dismantlement of the entire operation, a new group/groups will emerge to take its place. Such are the depressing facts of the drug war.

The AP has more:

Soldiers surrounded Diego Montoya, also known as Don Diego, in a farmhouse where he was hiding with his mother and several other people near the western coffee town of Armenia, capping a more than 7-year manhunt.

Somehow being holed up with one’s mother doesn’t quite fit the image of the big bad drug lord.

At any rate, soft spot for Mom or not, he oversaw a lot of violence:

He consolidated his empire using paramilitaries to brutally control rural areas used to produce and transport cocaine. The “paras” have committed some of the worst massacres and other atrocities of this Andean country’s four-decade-old war between left-wing guerrillas and the government.

I am not sufficiently caffeinated yet to go into the whole “four-decades old war” bit (let’s just say it is a simplification at best), but it is true that the paras have been a major (if not the major) source of violence in Colombia over the last two decades.

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Filed under: War on Drugs, Colombia | |

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