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Friday, 1 February 2008

Wilber Varela aka Jabon

The body of Wilber Varela, known as "Jabon" or "Soap," was found on Wednesday in a hotel room in Merida state in neighboring Venezuela, said a Colombian police source who asked not to be identified.
The boss of Colombia's biggest remaining cocaine cartel was killed by gunfire in Venezuela in an apparent settling of accounts between drug gangs, Colombian security forces said on Friday.
"We have intelligence information that the person found dead in Venezuela is Jabon," the source said.
Varela, a former police sergeant wanted for extradition by the U.S. government for helping to smuggle tonnes of cocaine to the United States, was one of the last Colombian drug kingpins at large after last year's arrest of Diego "Don Diego" Montoya.
The two had battled for control of the Norte del Valle cartel, a violent rivalry that left hundreds of people dead.
The U.S. government had offered a $5 million reward leading to the arrest of Varela, who got his nickname from a brand of soap with the same name.
The Norte del Valle gang, based near the western city of Cali, is the only Colombian cartel that still controls all areas of the business from cultivation of coca plants to production of cocaine and its exportation. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by John O'Callaghan)


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