Brazil ready to extradite Colombian drug kingpin to US

March 14th, 2008 - 11:42 am ICT by admin  

Brasilia, March 14 (IANS) Brazil’s highest court has authorised the extradition of Colombian drug trafficker Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia alias “Chupeta” to the US, EFE news agency reported Friday. The decision now awaits only the authorisation of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Federal Tribunal approved the US extradition request for Ramirez, who was arrested in Brazil Aug 7 last year along with his wife and 12 other people.

In the US, Chupeta must face charges of securities laundering, conspiracy to engage in international drug trafficking and murder.

Ramirez, however, will benefit from a Brazilian constitutional principle that only allows extradition if the requesting country promises not to impose the death penalty or a prison term of more than 30 years, the maximum in Brazil.

Chief prosecutor Antonio Fernando de Souza assured the court that the extradition will only be granted if the US promises to respect that constitutional principle.

With a fortune, calculated by Brazilian authorities, at more than $2 billion, Ramirez has surrendered properties worth $3.2 million that he acquired in Brazil.

In his three years in hiding in Brazil, the head of Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel bought farms, beach houses and luxury yachts and underwent four rounds of plastic surgery to alter his appearance.

Ramirez was the most wanted drug trafficker in the world and the US offered a reward of $5 million for his capture.

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