Second Drug-Trafficking Twin Caught in Colombia

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Police on Friday captured the second of two drug-trafficking twins who were among Colombia's main cocaine shippers.

Miguel Angel Mejia, 48, was seized before dawn in the town of Honda, on the Magdalena River about 60 miles west of Bogota, said a senior police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge the information.

His twin brother, Victor Manuel Mejia, was killed Tuesday in a police raid on a ranch in Colombia's northwest. Both brothers were right-wing paramilitary warlords, authorities said.

"How good that the head of this snake has been cut off," Interior Minister Carlos Holguin, who confirmed Friday's capture, told RCN radio.

The U.S. government had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of each man.

The brothers allegedly began trafficking drugs in the 1990s and were responsible for shipping nearly 77 tons of cocaine in a two-year period, according to a U.S. extradition request issued in 2004.

As did many drug traffickers in the early part of this decade, the Mejias joined far-right paramilitary groups in order to benefit from a peace pact with the government that offered reduced sentences and suspended extradition orders for the armed bands.

But the brothers went on the run rather than be transferred to prison with the other warlords.

Police initially believed they had captured Miguel Angel Mejia on Tuesday after they found his identity papers at the ranch where Victor Manuel Mejia was killed.

The paramilitaries, created in the early 1980s to counter the leftist rebel threat, massacred hundreds and stole millions of acres of land. Some went on to traffic drugs, kill and extort.