Colombia has extradited Danilo Bustos Suarez, former second-in-command to drug kingpin Daniel "El Loco" Barrera, to the US, in another blow to Barrera's trafficking organization.
According to General Carlos Mena, director of Colombia's Judicial Police, "Bustos was the principal figurehead [for Barrera] and the person in charge of directing the transport structure of chemical inputs and processed drugs for shipment from Colombia's Pacific and Atlantic ports to the streets of the United States and Europe."
Bustos, captured in 2009, was extradited along with 16 others, including Barrera associate Jaime Garcia Garcia, as well as members of drug gangs the Rastrojos and the Urabeños.
InSight Crime Analysis
The US indicted Barrera in September last year, signaling an increased commitment to dismantling his organization. The extradition of a former close associate will be worrying for Barrera, as US authorities often make generous bargains with drug traffickers, granting them reduced sentences in exchange for information on their activities.
The extradition of Bustos is the latest in a series of blows against Barrera's organization. In December, Colombian authorities captured another trafficker associated with Barrera, who was hiding out in circumstances which hinted at strife within the organization. In the summer the drug boss apparently ordered a bloody attempt on another partner over to suspicions he would turn Barrera in to the authorities.
This month, Ecuador captured an alleged trafficker who is thought to have functioned as a key liaison between the organization and the Sinaloa Cartel.