The government of Colombia has announced it will grant a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a drug lord who’s allegedly used his position to help smuggle more than $1 billion of cocaine into the country.
The move is part of the government’s crackdown on organized crime and is part the push to secure the release of a notorious drug lord, who’s been jailed for more than a decade.
The president of Colombia, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, has announced a $5 million reward for any information leading investigators to the whereabouts of “El Tri,” a convicted criminal who’s also known as El Cholo.
El Tri allegedly trafficked drugs and weapons across the border from the United States to Europe, where Colombian authorities allege he and his associates use the same routes as cartels in Colombia to move drugs and arms across the country, including into the United Kingdom.
The Colombian government has long sought the extradition of El Tri, and has vowed to use every tool at its disposal to do so.
But prosecutors have accused him of using his position as a former prosecutor to facilitate the trafficking of drugs, and his supporters have denounced the government as a political tool.
The government has previously rejected that claim, however, and this latest move is no exception.
“This is an important step in the fight against organized crime, and the government will do everything possible to prevent further crimes from happening,” Garcia Padillas said in a statement on Tuesday.
The announcement comes as Colombia’s government struggles to stem a wave of violence and corruption that has been exacerbated by the country’s drug war.
Since the start of the year, at least 100 people have been killed, with another 200 injured.
Colombia’s economy has shrunk by almost a quarter since 2016.
The country has also seen its population plunge, with more than half the population now living in poverty.