A man accused of helping a Colombian drug gang smuggle tons of heroin and cocaine through Panama on its way to the U.S. has been extradited to face charges in New York.
Andres Cajiao-Barberena is accused of operating a warehouse where boatloads of narcotics were stored after arriving from Colombia by sea. The drugs were then hidden inside heavy construction machinery and sent to Mexico, where another drug-trafficking organization got them into the U.S., federal prosecutors say.
Cajiao-Barberena was arrested in Panama City in 2005, but it has taken authorities years to get him extradited.
He arrived in the U.S. on Thursday. It wasn’t clear when he might get a U.S. lawyer.
The Justice Department said Friday that the narcotics gang smuggled about five tons of cocaine, worth more than $100 million, between 2002 and late 2005.
The Colombian kingpin behind the operation, Manuel Felipe Salazar-Espinosa, was convicted in a U.S. court in 2007 and is serving a 30-year prison term.