Mali officials arrest local leader for drug trafficking in the country's north

A police officer says that the Malian army has arrested the leader of a village in the country's north on drug trafficking charges.

Chief Warrant officer Alassane Toure said Thursday that the mayor of Tarkint, a village about 160 kilometers (99 miles) north of Gao, was arrested on Wednesday. He identified the man as Baba Ould Cheick and said his name was on a list of six people who were issued arrest warrants in February for drug trafficking. Toure says the arrest took place far from the village.

Toure said that a plane stopped near Tarkint in November 2009 carrying at least five tons of cocaine from Venezuela. He says this is why Cheick was arrested.

Cheick is now in custody in Mali's capital, Bamako.