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11 September 2009

INTERPOL applauds Panama arrest of Colombian fugitive wanted by Peru for suspected drug trafficking

A major investigation led by INTERPOL'S National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Washington has led to the arrest of senior drug cartel member William Cobo Idrobo at Panama’s Tocumen International airport. He was wanted by Peru for serious drug offences.   

With the assistance of INTERPOL'S regional bureau in Buenos Aires and the General Secretariat’s Command and Co-ordination Centre, the five INTERPOL NCBs had been investigating 47-year-old Cobo Idrobo’s whereabouts and activities for several weeks.

Investigations accelerated on 7 September when the NCBs determined that Cobo Idrobo was travelling from Mexico to Panama.  The information enabled NCBs to coordinate the fugitive’s arrest by Panamanian police and INTERPOL Panama as soon as he arrived in the country.

Cobo Idrobo is believed to have been engaged in the manufacture of meth-amphetamines, as well as the sale of cocaine hydro-chlorate, under the umbrella of a regional drugs network with powerful international connections.

INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services, Jean-Michel Louboutin, praised the collaborative efforts behind the success of the operation. “The arrest of Cobo Idrobo was only made possible through the pro-active actions of the INTERPOL NCBs and Regional Bureau involved in monitoring his movements and co-ordinating his arrest in Panama,” he said. “The actions of the police authorities in each of these countries have shown their determination to do all they can to locate and arrest dangerous fugitives”, he added.

Currently in custody awaiting extradition to Peru, if convicted, Cobo Idrobo faces a maximum 25 year prison sentence.  Demonstrating the value of INTERPOL’s global operational services and the need for countries to think globally in the fight against transnational crime, Cobo Idrobo’s arrest highlights the value of INTERPOL tools – particularly its I-24/7 secure global communications systems – which operate well beyond national boundaries, making it hard for a criminal to take refuge in another country.