International cooperation sees arrest of Colombian INTERPOL Red Notice suspect
QUITO, Ecuador – One of Colombia’s most wanted suspected drugs criminals and the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice for internationally wanted persons has been arrested in Ecuador following close collaboration between INTERPOL’s National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in Bogota and Quito.
The brother of two of Colombia's most wanted criminals, both the subject of INTERPOL blue notices – a request to locate and obtain information on a person of interest in a criminal investigation – Juan Carlos Calle Serna had been the subject of police surveillance in Ecuador for months. His arrest on March 16 came just days after INTERPOL Bogota published an INTERPOL Red Notice, the international police tool which gave Ecuadorian police authorities the go-ahead to arrest and deport the fugitive.
The INTERPOL NCBs in Colombia and Ecuador had been investigating Calle Serna since early 2011 as part of a joint investigation into the Colombian drug-trafficking organization “Rastrojos”. The fugitive had fled his native Colombia in 2007 to live in exile in Ecuador from where he is thought to have directed the crime group’s criminal activities worldwide.
“The arrest of one of Colombia’s most wanted fugitives is testimony to the power of international police cooperation in bringing criminals to justice, no matter where they try to hide,” said Mrs Juliette Kure Parra, Head of INTERPOL Bogota.
Investigations conducted by INTERPOL Bogota and Quito revealed that Calle Serna ― alias “Armando” ― may have developed strategic alliances with other South American criminal syndicates, laundering money through front companies in the cities of Quito and Guayaquil and organizing cocaine production and smuggling from Bolivia to Colombia and Ecuador, using Peru as a transit area.
“The arrest of this suspected key drugs figure after five years on the run is testimony to the dedication and tenacity of the law enforcement officers in both countries, who ensured that this fugitive’s crimes and victims were not forgotten,” said Manuel Bonifaz Garcia, Head INTERPOL Quito.
The 41-year old suspect will now serve a 60-month prison sentence for skipping bail in 2010, and faces further prison sentences for charges of arms trafficking, criminal conspiracy, fraud, kidnapping, money laundering, murder and serious drug offences.