Julio Alberto Lozano, alias “Patricia,” accused by Colombian authorities of being one of the hemisphere’s most important drug traffickers, has agreed to face charges in the United States.
After Lozano’s legal team reached a negotiation with the US Justice Department, he was brought to the country on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, reported El Tiempo.
Lozano first came under police scrutiny after a dozen suitcases full of money, allegedly belonging to him, were found in the Colombian cities of Bogota and Buenaventura in an apparent money laundering scheme involving a Bogota soccer club. Since then, Colombian police have launched an offensive against Lazano’s business network, arresting seven people in Miami, Panama, Mexico, and Argentina, including Luis Agustín Caicedo, his personal associate.
According to authorities, Lozano is a leader of an international drug-trafficking network in charge of collecting money from different criminal organizations around the continent and turning it over to Daniel Barrera Barrera, alias “El Loco,” one of Colombia’s top drug kingpins. Barrera in turn used the money to purchase cocaine from the FARC guerrillas.
Because of his role as “middle man,” Lozano’s testimony could be a key piece of intelligence for US officials seeking to understand the connections between cocaine producers in Colombia and cartels in Mexico.