U.S. seeks extradition of Cali heads

Dec. 25, 2003 at 5:49 PM
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BOGOTA, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. officials are requesting the extradition from Colombia of reputed Cali cartel drug kingpins Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela .

Washington has accused the brothers, who are charged with murder, bribery, smuggling 55 tons of cocaine and laundering $2 billion, of continuing to run their drug empire from the prison cells to which they have been confined since 1995, the BBC reported.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is expected to approve the extradition, which then must also be Okd by the Supreme Court. Drug smugglers face stiffer sentences upon conviction in the United States than they do in Colombia.

In the 1990s, the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers were believed to control some 80 percent of the world's cocaine supply, solidifying their position following the death of rival drug lord Pablo Escobar, who controlled the Medellin cartel and was killed by police in 1993. The former leader of the Medellin cartel, Fabio Ochoa, currently is serving a 30-year U.S. prison sentence.

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