U.S. marks Colombian as drug kingpin

Feb. 20, 2013 at 2:43 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A Colombian man was listed Wednesday as a drug trafficking kingpin who uses airplanes to smuggle thousands of pounds of narcotics out of South America.

Jose Evaristo Linares Castillo was named a specially designated narcotics trafficker by the U.S. Treasury Department.

In a statement, Treasury officials said Linares Castillo headed a Villlavicencio, Colombia, organization that manufactured and smuggled cocaine into Central America and Mexico and ultimately into the United States.

Linares Castillo, by working with the FARC guerrilla group, "has become one of the largest cocaine sources for drug-laden aircraft departing from Apure, Venezuela, to Central America," the statement said.

His designation under the so-called "Kingpin Act" freezes any of his assets under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits Americans from conducing any financial or commercial transactions with him.

Colombian authorities have been holding Linares Castillo since his arrest last May and he is pending extradition to the United States.

He has been indicted by U.S. District Courts in Miami and New York on a variety of charges, including drug trafficking, money laundering and narco-terrorism.

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