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Colombia gets millions seized from drug lord

Associated Press

BOGOTA, Colombia — The U.S. government on Monday turned $13 million over to Colombia that was acquired through the seizure of assets and properties belonging to a violent drug lord.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary Lee Warren presented Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos with the check at a ceremony in Bogota. The funds will be used to improve human rights, anti-drug programs and prisons in this war-torn nation, Santos’ office said.

The money comes from real estate and other assets that belonged to Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, a Medellin cocaine cartel leader who was gunned down by police in 1989.

Authorities have seized some 1,000 properties — worth some $186 million — from drug traffickers in the past two years. Rodriguez Gacha’s assets have yielded more money than any other drug trafficker.

Also Monday, Colombia’s air force said its warplanes forced down a twin-engine plane suspected of carrying drugs or arms and later destroyed the aircraft as it sat on a clandestine airstrip.

The plane was detected entering the Columbia’s airspace illegally from Brazil on Saturday and forced it to land in the Vaupes region, 350 miles southeast of the capital, Bogota, the air force said in a statement.

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