Colombian military captures drug trafficker wanted by US

A Colombian drug dealer wanted by the United States was arrested while sleeping in his hideout this week.

José Límber Valencia Caicedo, 38, was apprehended before dawn on Tuesday when security forces raided his hiding place in Timbiquí, a town in the southwestern department of Cauca.

Authorities recovered a gun, 10 cell phones, four two-way radios and at least three satellite phones during the operation.

National police said Valencia Caicedo oversaw an international drug trafficking organization that aligned with splinter groups from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and criminal factions in Ecuador.

He had previously attempted to bribe the South American nation’s peace deal with guerrilla groups in favor of a milder sentence of up to eight years in prison instead of spending decades in a US prison for drug trafficking,

José Límber Valencia Caicedo came to the attention of US authorities in 2018 when it was discovered that he was part of a group of drug traffickers trying to break into the Colombian government’s special jurisdiction for peace, a treaty signed in November 2016 with the revolutionary armed forces. from Colombia and other groups that were part of the decades-long armed conflict

The 38-year-old oversaw a drug trafficking organization that partnered with the Sinaloa Cartel and the Next Generation Jalisco Cartel, Mexico's two main drug exporters to the United States.

The 38-year-old oversaw a drug trafficking organization that partnered with the Sinaloa Cartel and the Next Generation Jalisco Cartel, Mexico’s two main drug exporters to the United States.

José Límber Valencia Caicedo has his fingerprints taken after his arrest

José Límber Valencia Caicedo has his fingerprints taken after his arrest

Its transnational drug trafficking network has also partnered with the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel and the Next Generation Jalisco Cartel, Mexico’s two main suppliers of narcotics to the United States, according to the 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment of the Drug. Enforcement Administration.

Valencia Caicedo took control of the organization after its former leader, Tito Aldemar Ruano Yandun, was arrested in Tumaco, Nariño, in October 2017.

He is currently at risk of being extradited to the United States

Communication equipment, including cell phones, two-way radios and a gun that were seized from the house where José Límber Valencia Caicedo was hiding

Communication equipment, including cell phones, two-way radios and a gun that were seized from the house where José Límber Valencia Caicedo was hiding

The cartel shipped an average of four tonnes of cocaine per month on speedboats and submarines that sailed from the Colombian Pacific coast to Central America and the United States.

Valencia Caicedo became a prime target of the United States in October 2018 when it attempted to pay 5 million Colombian pesos (approximately $ 1,320) to purchase a seat on the government’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace Agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and other groups that were part of the decades-long armed conflict that claimed more than 220,000 lives.

José Límber Valencia Caicedo risks being extradited to the United States.  He was arrested in Ecuador in 2013 for attempting to ship three tons of cocaine to Central America aboard a submarine.

José Límber Valencia Caicedo risks being extradited to the United States. He was arrested in Ecuador in 2013 for attempting to ship three tons of cocaine to Central America aboard a submarine.

José Límber lies on the ground as he is placed under arrest by the Colombian military and national police

José Límber lies on the ground as he is placed under arrest by the Colombian military and national police

The US Embassy in Bogotá has alerted Colombian authorities that Valencia Caicedo and five other suspected drug traffickers had contracted the services of “lawyers who collected millions of money to prepare false documents certifying a drug trafficker as a member of the FARC “.

The treaty was established in November 2016 and entered into force in March 2017. Under the agreement, guerrilla members are investigated for crimes and brought to justice. The objective of the agreement is to satisfy the rights of those who have been directly affected by the armed conflict.

The leaders of the FARC, now a political party, are required to testify in court, recounting the murders, sexual violence, kidnappings, bombings and other crimes in which they have participated.

If Valencia Caicedo had been convicted, he might have been sentenced to serve five to eight years of repair work such as rebuilding roads or schools.

Ex-combatants who lie or do not tell the whole truth but are subsequently convicted could receive harsher sentences ranging from five to 20 years in regular prisons. Many Colombians believe the possible sentences are too lenient.

Valencia Caicedo’s criminal record dates back to 2011, when he was arrested for illegal possession of firearms in Tumaco, Nariño.

He was also accused of being an intermediary for drug trafficking organizations, the FARC splinter group, Daniel Aldana Mobile Unit.

In 2013, Ecuadorian authorities arrested him and his brother as they attempted to ship three tons of cocaine in a submarine bound for Central America.

Valencia Caicedo is also part of an investigation into the 2016 murders of three people in Cali.


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