Guatemala captures alleged drug trafficker wanted in the United States

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Guatemala captures drug suspect wanted in US

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan police captured a suspected drug trafficker wanted in the United States for cocaine smuggling and seized nearly $2 million in cash that his brother was carrying in two bags, authorities said Sunday.

Mauro Ramirez Barrios, alias “The Purple One,” was arrested Saturday in the southern town of San Bernardino after a four-day search, President Alvaro Colom told reporters.

His capture came more than two weeks after he escaped police during a shooting at a shopping mall in Guatemala City. Two police officers and a civilian were killed.

Colom said Ramirez Barrios was taken to Guatemala City, where the courts would decide whether to extradite him to the United States.

“It’s a blow to organized crime,” he said.

Guatemalan authorities say Ramirez Barrios is wanted in Florida on charges of smuggling 3.7 tons (3,335 kilograms) of cocaine since 2007. He allegedly hired fishermen to smuggle the drugs through Mexico.

His brother, Sergio Telechea Barrios, was tracked down in another town carrying $1.8 million in cash, said prosecutor Brenda Munoz.

“We’ve counting the money for hours. Now, we can say for sure that $1,832,500 were seized,” Munoz told The Associated Press.

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