BOGOTA, Colombia – Colombian and U.S. authorities shut down a drug trafficking and money laundering operation that exported about $1 million worth of cocaine every week to the United States, Europe and Asia, authorities said Saturday.
Ten members of the ring were arrested Friday during raids in Bogota (search) and several cities on the Caribbean coast with cooperation from theU.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (search), said Gen. Jorge Alirio Baron, Colombia's anti-narcotics police chief.
Baron told reporters the traffickers used mainly human carriers and container shipments to export the drugs and had a complex network of bank accounts and fake businesses in several countries to launder drug money. He said $22,000 in cash, Global Positioning System (search) units and two dozen cell phones were seized during the raids.
But gunmen on a motorbike killed special anti-drug prosecutor late Friday in Medellin, Colombia's second-biggest city. Luis Ignacio Aristizabal was traveling in a taxi with his wife when the gunmen opened fire, Medellin police said. His wife escaped unhurt. Aristizabal was rushed to a local hospital where he died of his wounds.
Colombia is the world's largest cocaine producer and a major supplier of heroin to the United States.