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08 September 2008 - Media release

INTERPOL lauds Venezuelan capture of suspected Colombian drug lord and accomplice

LYON, France – The arrest of an alleged Colombian drug lord and his accomplice in an operation co-ordinated jointly by Venezuelan law enforcement forces and INTERPOL’s National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in Caracas and Bogota has been praised by INTERPOL, the world’s global police organization.

Marcos Jose OROZCO WILCHES and his accomplice, Aldo Mario ALVAREZ DURAN, were apprehended on 7 and 8 September respectively in Maracaibo City in the state of Zulia bordering Colombia, following extensive co-operation between INTERPOL’s NCBs in Venezuela and Colombia and Venezuela's National Anti-Drug Agency, coupled with intelligence gathered by Venezuelan security forces.

The suspects had been the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice – or international wanted persons notice – issued at the request of authorities in the U.S. where both are wanted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for drug trafficking and for membership of a criminal organization.

“These arrests are a credit to Venezuela’s law enforcement officers and agencies and clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of inter agency and cross-border co-operation,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

“Such operations underline the ongoing commitment and collaboration of valued INTERPOL member countries such as Venezuela and Colombia to bring fugitives to justice, and the value to frontline law enforcement officers in ensuring they have access to vital police information contained in INTERPOL’s databases.”

At the time of his arrest, Orozco Wilches – who has been taken to Caracas for questioning – was the second major Colombian drug suspect arrested in Venezuela this year. Hermagoras Gonzalez Polanco, one of the U.S. government's most-wanted drug trafficking suspects, was captured in March.

While Red Notices are placed in INTERPOL’s central database which can be queried by any of its member countries, they can also be added to foreign law enforcement databases and border lookout systems.

Many INTERPOL member countries view a Red Notice as the basis for the provisional arrest of a wanted person with a view to their extradition. It can be requested by any of INTERPOL’s member countries, and is issued by INTERPOL’S General Secretariat. Issued in all four of INTERPOL’s official languages – Arabic, English, French and Spanish – a Red Notice remains in effect until the wanted fugitive is extradited.