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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 April, 2004, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
'Top drugs lord' held in Mexico
Otto Herrera
Herrera is alleged to have helped move the Colombian Cali cartel's cocaine
Mexican police have detained a Guatemalan man described by the US authorities as Central America's most wanted drug smuggler.

Otto Herrera was arrested at Juarez International Airport in Mexico City.

He is accused of building a smuggling network using speedboats to move Colombian cocaine through Panama, Guatemala and Mexico to the US.

Mexico's Attorney General, Macedo de la Concha, said the arrest was important for the Mexican government.

"He was wanted by the authorities in the US, Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama, who considered him responsible for the shipments by speedboat that operated in Central America," he said.

"With this arrest, we are succeeding in breaking up the leadership of a criminal organisation linked to the most significant transfer, distribution and sale of narcotics in Central America, whose operations included Mexico and the US."

Notorious cartel

Three of Mr Herrera's alleged accomplices were also arrested in the resort of Cancun.

Mr Herrera is believed to have been in Mexico since a raid on one of his Guatemalan homes in April 2003.

In the raid, police found more than $14m in cash, along with a pair of grenade launchers, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Guatemalan police also seized several tons of cocaine, three small planes and four speedboats, the attorney general's office said.

Mr de la Concha added that authorities believed that the money belonged to Colombia's notorious Cali cartel, and that Mr Herrera had used contacts in Panama as well as Guatemala and Mexico to move the cartel's cocaine.

The BBC's Hannah Belcher
"He now faces US charges of drug trafficking and organised crime"

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