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Colombia kills paramilitary drug lord wanted in US
Published on:Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 21:07
Pedro "Cuchillo" Guerrero, a dangerous Colombian drug lord and ex-paramilitary leader who had a 2.5-million-dollar US bounty on his head, was killed in a weekend police raid, officials said Wednesday.
Guerrero headed a gang of former right-wing fighters that refused to demobilize in 2006 when other paramilitary fighters reached a deal with then-president Alvaro Uribe.
Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said that Guerrero's body, already in an advanced state of decomposition, was found Tuesday afternoon.
Guerrero was seriously wounded following a Christmas day police raid on his hideout in southeastern Colombia, Rivera said.
A police source speaking on condition of anonymity said that seven fighters loyal to Guerrerro were captured in the operation, including the group's deputy commander Harold Rojas Pineros, also known as "Loco Harold" (Mad Harold). Two police officers were killed.
Guerrero himself escaped, though apparently he was seriously wounded and died soon after.
Colombian authorities say that Guerrero is responsible for the death of at least 2,000 people, mainly when he led a unit with the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a powerful group that disbanded in 2006.
However "Cuchillo" -- knife in Spanish -- and his men kept their weapons and instead formed a splinter group called the Popular Revolutionary Antiterrorist Army of Colombia (ERPAC).
The group quickly got involved in Colombia's thriving illegal drug trade, authorities said.