Colombia arrests drug trafficker with alleged FARC links

Colombian authorities have arrested a suspected drug trafficker alleged to have links with the FARC rebel group and wanted by the United States, the army said.

AFP| Updated: Dec 22, 2014, 02:42 AM IST

Bogota: Colombian authorities have arrested a suspected drug trafficker alleged to have links with the FARC rebel group and wanted by the United States, the army said.

Hermes Casanova, also known as "Mega" or "Megatronico" is accused of working in collaboration with Colombian guerrilla group FARC and Mexico`s Los Zetas and Sinaloa drug cartels.

He is wanted by US authorities for working with a drug trafficking and money laundering cartel that exports nearly 100 tons of cocaine every year. Colombia said Casanova`s arrest was a major hit for the cartel.

"It is a crushing blow to international organized crime and drug trafficking," army commander Jaime Lasprilla told reporters.

Casanova was arrested Saturday in Valle del Cauca in western Colombia.

He is accused of controlling the production and shipment of drugs from southwest Colombia to Central America and the United States.

Colombian authorities had been investigating Casanova for 18 months, Lasprilla said, adding that it is not known whether he will be extradicted to the United States.

Colombia`s leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) guerrillas have been locked in peace talks with the government since November 2012, and have been accused of having links with drug traffickers -- a charge they deny.

The FARC began a unilateral ceasefire Saturday hailed as a key step in the peace negotiations, though uncertainty surrounds the truce.

Colombia is one of the world`s top exporters of cocaine, along with Peru, according to the United Nations.