‘Rastrojo’ gang leader extradited from Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia has extradited a former leader of the violent Rastrojos criminal gang to the United States to be tried for cocaine trafficking.

Diego Perez Henao, who was also a founding member of the Norte del Valle cartel, was captured in Venezuela last year, posing as a ranch foreman and accompanied by 10 bodyguards. He is accused of dozens of murders.

The 42-year-old better known as Diego Rastrojo was escorted in handcuffs onto a DEA plane Wednesday. He was indicted in Miami in 2011.

The U.S. State Department says Perez has been linked to kidnappings, tortures and assassinations in Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama.

He was a top lieutenant in the Norte del Valle cartel of Wilber Varela, who was among Colombia’s more ruthless traffickers. Varela was killed in Venezuela in 2008.

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