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Spanish police arrest major drug trafficker

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By Harold Heckle
The Associated Press

MADRID, Spain — Spanish police have arrested a suspected Colombian drug trafficker listed among the most wanted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the police force said in a statement Friday.

Acting on a tip from the DEA, police tracked Edgar Vallejo-Guarin to a luxury hotel in Madrid, police said Friday, confirming a U.S. Embassy statement.

Vallejo-Guarin, 47, who has a US$5 million reward posted for information leading to his capture, was arrested Thursday, the embassy statement said.

Vallejo-Guarin, also known as "Beto el Gitano," has a history of violence, money laundering and corruption, the police statement said.

In June 2001 the South District of Florida accused Vallejo-Guarin of being one of the principal sources of Colombian cocaine in the United States between the years 1990-1999, the statement said.

Vallejo-Guarin is suspected of having transported many tons of the drug to Florida and Europe, and is also under investigation for possible involvement in several murders, the statement said.

The United States has asked for Vallejo-Guarin's extradition, the embassy statement said, adding that the suspect was using a false identity at the time of his arrest.

The police statement said Vallejo-Guarin had a house in Sant Cugat del Valles, near the northern city of Barcelona, but had been staying at many hotels in Spain and Venezuela to avoid capture.

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