Colombian kingpin faces drug charges in Miami, New York after extradition

A Colombian drug kingpin faces double-barreled charges in Miami and New York, accusing him of smuggling tons of cocaine from Venezuela to the United States while financially supporting leftist guerrillas in his homeland, authorities said Tuesday.

Jose Evaristo Linares-Castillo, designated by the U.S. government as one of the “most significant” narco-traffickers in the world, is accused of producing cocaine at his labs in Colombia and storing about 20,000 kilos of it in the Apure state of Venezuela.

In Apure, near the Colombian border, Linares-Castillo used clandestine airstrips controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to transport loads of cocaine to Honduras or Guatemala and then to Mexico, prosecutors say.

From there, most of the drugs were smuggled into the United States.

Linares-Castillo, 47, extradited to New York Thursday, has pleaded not guilty to drug-trafficking charges related to his alleged financial support of the FARC, a U.S.-designated terrorist group. He also has been indicted in Miami on drug-smuggling and money-laundering charges. Four co-conspirators were also named in the Miami indictment.

Linares-Castillo collaborated with another Colombian drug lord, Daniel Arnoldo Barrera-Barrera, also known as “El Loco,” who is expected to be extradited to Miami soon to face cocaine-smuggling charges, authorities said.

Both investigations, led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, reflect the heightened role of Colombian traffickers in Venezuela and their use of Apure state as a hub for cocaine shipments through Central America and Mexico to the United States.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category