Brazil extradites Colombian drug lord to United States

Other News Materials 22 August 2008 23:35 (UTC +04:00)

Brazil extradited Colombian drug lord Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, known as "Chupeta," to the United States on Friday, Brazilian authorities confirmed.

The US wants to try Ramirez Abadia, 44, for murder, international drug trafficking and money laundering.

"Chupeta" left the high-security federal prison in Campo Grande, in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso du Sul, in the early hours of Friday. He was taken to Manaus in Amazonia, where a US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) plane was waiting for him. He was reportedly flown to New York.

Brazilian Justice Minister Tarso Genro authorized the extradition on Tuesday.

Considered to be the top boss of the North of the Valley Colombian drug cartel, Ramirez Abadia was arrested in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo in August 2007.

He had been living in Brazil for three years and had undergone plastic surgery 78 times in an attempt to hide his identity, officials said.

In April, a Brazilian court sentenced him to a 30-year jail term for money laundering, bribery, criminal conspiracy and use of false documents. His wife Jessica and eight employees were also handed jail terms.

Ramirez Abadia and other gang members are accused of killing up to 300 people who failed to pay for drugs in both Colombia and the US.

He is estimated to have amassed 1.8 billion dollars from drug trafficking, according to the DEA.

He reportedly offered to give the Brazilian state 30 to 40 million dollars if they cancelled legal proceedings against him in Brazil and his extradition to the US, dpa reported.