Colombian police confiscate 54 million dollars
Jan 18, 2007, 17:30 GMT
Bogota - Colombian anti-narcotics police on Thursday reported a successful week in its fight against drug gangs, with the confiscation of around 54 million dollars and a large number of gold bars in the south-eastern city of Cali.
The funds allegedly belonged to Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, a member of the North of the Valley Cartel and for whom the United States is offering a 5-million-dollar reward.
Colombian authorities said the money had its origin in the illegal drug trade between the South American country and the United States.
Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos said late Wednesday that this is the greatest amount of money ever found hidden in such a fashion.
On Wednesday the authorities found 20 million dollars in a house, where stacks of notes were hidden under a concrete slab, and two women who looked after the treasure were arrested.
Close to 19 million dollars were confiscated in a similar fashion on Tuesday, while 15 million dollars had been found on Friday.
The Colombian government said it intends to use the money for the construction of low-income housing in Cali.
General Jorge Baron, the chief of the country's anti-narcotics police, said 24 Colombian members of an international network of drug dealers were arrested in a separate incident. They had allegedly sent to the US cocaine and heroin from Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. He added that dealers were also arrested in the United States in connection with this operation.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur