Medellin Drug Cartel Co-Founder Back in Germany: Report

A German-Colombian former drug lord who co-founded the Medellín Cartel with Pablo Escobar, Carlos Enrique Lehder Rivas was booked in Tampa, Florida, after his 1987 capture. (Courthouse News image)

BERLIN (AFP) — The man who co-founded the notorious Colombian Medellin drug cartel along with Pablo Escobar has been transferred to Germany from the United States, Spiegel Online reported Tuesday.

Carlos Lehder Rivas, who has both German and Colombian citizenship, was escorted to Germany by two U.S. officials on a regular passenger flight from New York to Frankfurt and handed over German authorities, the report said.

Along with Escobar, Lehder ran the Medellin cartel that smuggled cocaine worth billions on the streets to the United States in the 1970s and ’80s.

In a dramatic twist, Escobar tipped off authorities to Lehder’s whereabouts, leading to his arrest and extradition to the United States in 1987.

Lehder was sentenced by a U.S. court to more than 130 years in prison but later cooperated with the authorities and was put in a witness protection program.

As he has already served his time in the United States, he would not be asked to answer again to the same charges before a German court.

Spiegel reported that 70-year-old Lehder, whose father is German, would be placed under the care of a charitable group in Germany.

Germany’s interior and foreign ministries were not immediately available for comment on the case when contacted by AFP.

Escobar was killed by Colombian police in 1993 while on the run to avoid extradition to the United States.

© Agence France-Presse

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