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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A suspected Colombian drug trafficker appeared in a federal courtroom in Miami less than 24 hours after arriving in the U.S.
Longtime fugitive Henry De Jesus Lopez Londoño made his first court appearance in the U.S. Friday afternoon – indicted on a charge to traffic five kilos of cocaine in the country.
South Florida’s U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer says Lopez’s arrest and extradition to the U.S. is part of a larger plan to indict, what he called, big Colombian drug dealers
“This arrest was significant. ‘El Sangre’ or Londono is one of the most sought out or prolific drug dealers in Colombia that was importing cocaine to our country,” said Ferrer. “I think it will send a message to the world that no matter where you’re from or where you go to hide we will find you and we will arrest you and you will have to serve and face justice in the United States.”
On Thursday, he was booked into the Federal Detention Center in Miami following his arrival from Argentina where he had been since 2012. He’s been in a federal prison in Buenos Aires after authorities arrested him in a joint operation between Argentina and Colombia.
His attorney Arturo Hernandez said he was trying to get asylum in Argentina.
“It’s the first instance that I’m aware of where Argentina has allowed extradition where there have been two asylum requests,” said Hernandez.
At the moment, Lopez is being held in federal lockup with no bond. His attorney plans to argue that on November 29th when Lopez is back in court for a detention hearing and when he’ll be formally charged.
“After the bond hearing, there will be an arraignment. He will enter a plea, very proudly of not guilty to all the counts in the indictment,”said Hernandez.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Lopez arrest is just the beginning or more to come.
“This investigation continues and there are other defendants that have been indicted. We’re also looking and seeking their extradition so they can face justice in the United States,” said Ferrer.
The 45-year-old known as “Mi Sangre” – “My Blood” – was the head of the “Urabeños” gang in northern Colombia, according to published reports.