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Last Updated: Monday, 31 October 2005, 10:58 GMT
'Drug lord' arrested in Colombia
Colombian anti-narcotics police
The raid was aimed at the last remaining traditional drug cartel
Police in Colombia have arrested an alleged leader of a powerful drug cartel who is wanted in the US for drug trafficking and money laundering.

John Eidelber Cano Correa was detained in north-west Colombia after special forces backed by four helicopter gunships stormed a ranch.

Mr Cano is considered the number three man in the Norte del Valle cartel.

In 2003, a New York court requested his extradition to the United States on 10 drug-related charges.

He is alleged to have smuggled some 500 tons of cocaine into the US.

At the time of his arrest, Mr Cano was under the protection of members of the country's main paramilitary group, the United Self Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), according to the police.

The BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Colombia says that the AUC presence there has again put the spotlight on the activities of the paramilitaries, which has been demobilising as part of peace talks with the government.

President Alvaro Uribe has come under criticism from the United Nations and human rights groups who say his demobilisation legislation does not force the paramilitaries to deliver up their drug running operations.

The Norte del Valle cartel is considered the last of the traditional drug smuggling organisation that filled the vacuum left after the fall of the Medellin and the Cali cartels.

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