Colombian drug lord shot dead in Madrid hospital

January 9th, 2009 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Jan 9 (DPA) One of Colombia’s top drug lords has been shot dead at a Madrid hospital, radio reports said Friday in the Spanish capital.Leonidas Vargas, 59, was being treated for a stomach problem after being released on bail, police sources were quoted as saying.

One or two people entered his hospital room Thursday evening, asked his fellow patient whether the sleeping man was Vargas, and shot him four times with a gun equipped with a silencer.

The nurse who later discovered the body had to be treated for shock.

Vargas is listed by Colombia as one of the country’s 19 top drug traffickers, for each of whom the Latin American country offers a reward of $5 million.

He was detained at the entrance of a Madrid hotel in 2006 after the police seized 500 kilograms of cocaine. He carried a fake Venezuelan passport.

Vargas had been hospitalised Jan 2.

His murder might have been a settlement of accounts between criminals, police said.

Police were investigating whether hospital security cameras had recorded the entry of the killers.

In the 1990s, Vargas is believed to have headed the Caqueta drug cartel in a region with a strong presence of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), where he allegedly organized groups of professional killers.

Vargas was sentenced to 19 years in prison and to pay a fine of 1.5 million dollars in 1995. He was in a high-security prison near Medellin until 2001.

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