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Archive for Saturday, February 2, 2008

Top Colombian drug lord found shot to death

February 2, 2008

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— One of Colombia's most-wanted drug lords has been found slain in Venezuela, a top counter-drug official said Friday.

Fingerprints of the man found shot to death in the Venezuelan city of Merida on Wednesday matched those of Wilber Varela, said Col. Nestor Reverol, head of the National Anti-Drug Agency.

Varela, alias "Jabon," or "Soap," led a war with rival traffickers that killed more than 1,000 people in recent years, and the underworld is awash with tales of brutality that made him a household name in Colombia.

Varela had a private army along the western coast of Colombia that protected cocaine routes and eliminated rivals. His war with a rival in the Norte del Valle cartel, Diego Montoya, plagued the city of Cali and much of southwestern Colombia with violence.

Varela was indicted in U.S. federal courts on drug trafficking charges in 2004, and the State Department offered a reward of up to $5 million for his capture.

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