Colombian police arrest alleged drug lord in Argentina
Police escort alleged Colombian drug lord Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias 'Mi Sangre,' or 'My Blood,' in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. (AP / Victor R. Caivano)
Published Wednesday, October 31, 2012 12:33PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 31, 2012 2:13PM EDT
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- The alleged leader of a Colombian drug trafficking and organized crime network was arrested outside a restaurant in suburban Buenos Aires after Colombian police tracked him around South America.
Carrying false passports from five countries and posing as a Venezuelan businessman, Henry de Jesus Lopez, aka "Mi Sangre," or "My Blood," was finally captured Tuesday night along with a bodyguard in the parking lot of a restaurant where they had dinner reservations, in the Buenos Aires suburb of Pilar, police said Wednesday.
Lopez, 41, ran the "Urabenos" gang based northeastern Colombia after rising through the ranks of right-wing paramilitary groups that doubled as drug trafficking operations, national police director Gen. Jose Roberto Leon said in Bogota.
Argentine Security Secretary Sergio Berni called Lopez "extremely dangerous" and said he has been responsible for "hundreds of deaths."
Lopez entered Argentina after passing through Paraguay and Venezuela in hopes of covering his trail, but a team of Colombian judicial police chased him down with help from a Colombian informant who reported his location and movements. The informant, whose identity is being protected, will be paid a reward worth $660,000, Leon said.
Berni emphasized the Argentine role, attributing the arrest to "a very thorough investigation" by his agency and federal forces. He said President Cristina Fernandez had personally approved the necessary resources.
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos sent a Twitter message overnight thanking his country's police and Argentine authorities for the arrest.
Without offering any details, Berni also said that Lopez trafficked drugs in Argentina during his stay, and that investigations continue.
Lopez carried false passports from Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela, Leon said.
Lopez is accused of organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorism, and is wanted in both Colombia and the U.S.
Authorities are now evaluating which country Argentina should send him to, Gen. Leon said.