The Associated Press
February 01, 2008
CARACAS, Venezuela -- One of Colombia's most-wanted drug lords has been found slain, Venezuela's top counter-drug official said Friday.
Fingerprints of the man who was found shot to death in the Venezuelan city of Merida on Wednesday matched those of Wilber Varela, said Col. Nestor Reverol, head of the National Anti-Drug Agency.
Varela, alias "Jabon," or "Soap," was Colombia's most notorious drug trafficker on the run. The underworld is awash with tales of his brutality that made him a household name in Colombia.
Colombia's police chief, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, reminded reporters that Varela, a former police officer himself, had entered the drug underworld as a hired killer.
"Wilber Varela in the last few years was truly the main leader of Colombian drug-trafficking organizations," Naranjo said in Bogota.
Varela had a private army along the western coast of Colombia that protected cocaine routes and eliminated rivals. Varela's war with his rival within the Norte del Valle cartel, Diego Montoya, plagued the city of Cali and much of southwestern Colombia, killing more than 1,000 people in several years.
Varela was indicted in U.S. federal courts on drug trafficking charges in 2004, and the U.S. State Department offered a reward of up to $5 million for his capture