Thursday 22 March 2018

Colombian police capture 'Peru's most wanted criminal' at shopping centre

'El Chapo' - Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman (pictured)
'El Chapo' - Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman (pictured)

Libardo Cardona

Colombian police have announced the capture of an alleged dangerous drug lord described as Peru's most-wanted criminal.

Gerson Galvez, or "Caracol", was arrested on Saturday at a Medellin shopping centre and deported to Peru less than 24 hours later because he did not have migration papers.

Galvez was first spotted in March in Ecuador before being seen in Panama and Colombia.

Dubbed by Peruvian media as the "new El Chapo", in reference to Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, Galvez is wanted in connection with 101 killings in Peru, where he is also alleged to have managed large shipments of cocaine from the nation's main seaport in Callao.

The head of Peru's police, General Vicente Romero, came personally to Bogota to oversee the deportation of Galvez, who is considered highly dangerous.

Peruvian authorities had been offering a $150,000 reward for information leading to his arrest - the largest bounty offered against any Peruvian criminal.

Among his many alleged crimes is the 2015 attempted murder of a rival who was attacked while driving by a barrage of gunfire and two grenades. He is also believed to have threatened prosecutors and used his Barrio Kings gang to extort businesses in Callao.

"I have the right to be presumed innocent," Galvez shouted to journalists as he was handed over to Peruvian authorities in handcuffs and wearing a bulletproof vest.

Authorities said he might have been in Medellin trying to meet with partners in the Office of Envigado crime syndicate or to arrange a visit with his Venezuelan girlfriend. Colombian police said he owned a luxury apartment in the city's El Poblado neighbourhood.

The US government says Peru is the world's largest producer of cocaine.

Press Association

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