How a sick dog helped police finally catch drug lord who worked with Pablo Escobar

A former associate of the Colombian drugs baron Pablo Escobar has been arrested at his luxury villa in the city of Medellin following an international operation, Spanish police said on Saturday.

The man was recognised because of the distinct way he walked and was spotted because he was taking his dog to the vets.

The detained man is suspected of being the nexus between Medellin-based traffickers and the European crime groups Ndrangheta – based in Italy – and Mocro Mafia, which operates from the Netherlands, police said in a statement.

“He was known by police authorities for having collaborated in the past with a historical leader of (the Medellin Cartel) between the 80s and 90s,” the police statement said.

Adding: “There were two elements that led to his identity, his visits to a medical centre due to his own problems with mobility which led him to use a walking stick, and the continual trips to a vet for his dog.

“But then H1 disappeared again, before he was seen at another mansion in Antioquia, valued at around £1.5million, where he was spotted every now and again taking his dog for a walk by a private lake.”

A police source with knowledge of the investigation identified the man as Julio Andres Murillo Figueroa, and named the cartel leader he had links to as Escobar.

Julio Andres Murillo Figueroa was arrested in Colombia


Medellín is the capital of Colombia’s Antioquia province. It is nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its weather,

The operation leading to the suspect’s arrest began after an exchange of information between the Spanish National Police’s fugitive unit and their counterparts in Colombia, the statement said.

Elsewhere Portugal’s criminal police agency PJ said on Saturday it arrested a member of Italy’s Camorra crime group who has been on the run for two decades.

PJ said in a statement it made the arrest in the country’s northern region and that the member of the Camorra, as the Naples version of the mafia is known, was the target of a European arrest warrant.

Twenty years ago, the 69-year-old male was sentenced to 15 years behind bars for drug trafficking but absconded and has been wanted by Italian authorities ever since, PJ said.

He has appeared before a Portuguese judge and will remain in jail until he is extradited.

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