Police killed one of Colombia's most-wanted drug lords in a shootout Tuesday after an informant led officers to a ranch hide-out, the defense minister said. The U.S. government had a US$5 million (euro3.2 million) reward out for the man, the AP reported.
Miguel Angel Mejia, one of two suspected drug-trafficking brothers known as 'The Twins,' was killed in a raid by 14 police officers at the La Union ranch in the northwestern state of Antioquia, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos told a news conference.
Two members of Mejia's security unit also were killed and three of his men were arrested, Santos said. Mejia was killed wearing desert-style American military fatigues, he added.
Miguel Angel and brother Victor Mejia allegedly began trafficking in the 1990s. A U.S. extradition request for the Mejia brothers issued in 2004 said they were responsible for shipping nearly 70 tons of cocaine in just two years.
Miguel Angel Mejia "wasn't just very dangerous but also very aggressive," Santos said. "The Mexicans (anti-drug authorities) considered that this individual was the one who moved the most drugs to Mexico."
He said five arrest warrants had been pending for the slain drug boss, three for murder.
The Mejias joined the far-right paramilitaries, as many drug traffickers did in the early 2000s to benefit from a peace pact with the government that offered reduced sentences.
But rather than demobilize with other warlords, they went on the run.
The U.S. State Department has a standing offer of US$5 million (euro3.2 million) for information leading to the arrest of each of the brothers.
Santos said the informant that led them to Miguel Angel Mejia would be compensated but he did not say by how much.