LOS CABOS — Colombian authorities have captured the country’s most-wanted drug lord, Colombian authorities said on Wednesday.
Cesar Rojas De Juanadilla, known as “Otoniel,” a former police officer, was captured on Tuesday evening in Los Cabos, a seaside resort town on the southern tip of Baja California, located just north of the Mexican border. He was with his son Hector Juan Juan Francisco, and Juan Carlos Cesar Cortés Gontart Aydelo, an ex-girlfriend.
Authorities also seized $50,000 and a knife.
Otoniel is the most prominent trafficker still at large following several other long-entrenched drug kingpins to capture. He was once the No. 2 drug lord on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people.
He is now thought to be in self-imposed exile in Ecuador, according to his profile on the “Rosa del la Sierra, the biggest magazine in Colombia.”
Otoniel rose to power in the mid-1990s when he murdered his father and took over the Arellano Felix cocaine cartel.
His low profile makes his capture by authorities a rare moment for Latin America’s drug trade, an industry that has been flush with lucrative drug profits while criminals still sought to evade the reach of justice.
According to the International Crisis Group (ICG), which describes Colombia as the world’s second largest producer of cocaine, Otoniel and “rival” Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, known as “Abe,” were the two top leaders of an “extended criminal gang” known as the “National Liberation Army,” or ELN.
Four members of the Colombian Cabinet were present at the time of Otoniel’s capture in Los Cabos.