Colombia's police have announced the arrest of 34 suspected members of the Galeano Clan, a drug trafficking group which allegedly had links with the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel and with Guatemalan criminal organizations.
Those arrested are suspected members of a group called the Galeano Clan, which the authorities say has ties to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel and to Guatemalan trafficking groups the Lorenzanas and the Mendozas.
The 34 suspects are set to be extradited to the US to face trafficking charges. In the course of the investigation against the group, which began in July last year, the authorities seized 11 tons of cocaine and 25 airplanes.
Police chief General Oscar Naranjo (pictured) said that 90 percent of cocaine production in Colombia's southeast passed through the group's hands.
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The fact that this little-known group was apparently responsible for such a large proportion of the cocaine production in one part of Colombia draws attention to the role of smaller gangs in the country's drug trade, while much of the authorities' attention is focused on the neo-paramilitary groups (BACRIM).
The operation is an example of the Colombian authorities' ongoing use of extradition as a tool against criminals -- Naranjo said it was the largest capture of people wanted to face charges in the US in the country's history.
If the group does have close links with the Sinaloa Cartel this would be further evidence of the Mexican gang's expansion in Colombia. In September, the authorities seized $250 million in assets that supposedly belonged to the Sinaloa Cartel.