Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Suspected Colombian Drug Kingpin Flown to NYC for Trial

Daniel “El Loco” Barrera Barrera is accused of shipping hundreds of tons of cocaine across the globe every year

By Jonathan Dienst
|  Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013  |  Updated 10:23 AM EDT
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Suspected Colombian Drug Kingpin Flown to NYC for Trial

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A man considered one of the most dangerous drug traffickers in the world was flown to New York Tuesday to face federal narcotics trafficking charges.

Daniel "El Loco" Barrera Barrera, 44, is accused of shipping hundreds of tons of cocaine across the globe every year, purchasing some base materials from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a terror group behind murders and kidnappings in that country.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Assistant Director James Dinkins said an international team of law enforcement “worked tirelessly and cooperatively to bring him to justice.”

Barrera arrived in New York where Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Drug Enforcement Administration agents helped lead him to prison. Barrera is expected to face arraignment in federal court in Brooklyn and Manhattan on separate charges. He also faces separate counts in Miami for his alleged drug trafficking crimes.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said Barrera is “one of the most prolific drug traffickers of the last 20 years.”

U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in addition to working with the FARC terror organization, Barrera also worked with another Colombian terror group known as the AUC.

Barrera was first arrested in Venezuela in September and sent back to Colombia. Colombian authorities agreed to send him to the U.S. where he could face 10 to 20 years in prison on several of the trafficking counts.

Officials said Barrera made tens of millions for himself by laundering the drug sales.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said: "If any one case epitomizes the nexus between terrorism and drug trafficking and the destructive impact on Colombian society, this is it; not to mention the crime and suffering cocaine addiction has fueled on the demand-side of the equation in the streets of New York."

Authorities also said Barrera laundered tens of millions of dollars of profits as he processed about 30,000 kilograms of raw cocaine into the same amount of cocaine powder each month since 1998.

He has had several cosmetic surgeries and tried to burn off his fingerprints with acid to mask his identity, authorities said. Venezuelan officials say they confiscated houses, ranches, a yacht, apartments and 48 cars from Barrera.

-- With AP reports

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