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Dominican Republic Arrests, Sends Colombian Drug Trafficker to U.S.

Sept 30--A Colombian who allegedly smuggled drugs into the United States for the defunct Cali drug cartel was arrested and immediately turned over to U.S. authorities, the Dominican Republic’s DNCD drug enforcement agency said.

Luis Santacruz Echeverri, half-brother of late Cali cartel boss Jose Santacruz Londoño, was arrested in downtown Santo Domingo, where he lived in a villa in the tourist enclave of Juan Dolio, east of the capital, the DNCD said.

Santacruz Londoño, known as “Chepe” and “El Estudiante,” broke out of prison in January 1996 but was shot dead three months later by police in the northwestern Colombian city of Medellin.

Santacruz Echeverri, who faces drug charges in New York, was the head of a criminal organization that used air drops to smuggle cocaine into the southern and northeastern Dominican Republic, the DNCD said, adding that he had lived in the country for several months.

The suspect was carrying several documents, including a Venezuelan residency card and driver’s license, Colombian residency card and driver’s license, and a paper with aircraft navigation coordinates, indicating that he was making arrangements for a drop of cocaine or heroin, officials said.
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