BOGOTA, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Colombian authorities have captured Antonio Ballesteros, also known as "Tono," one of the most wanted members of the Gulf Clan organized crime group, the National Police said Thursday.
Ballesteros was the right-hand man of Jobanis de Jesus Avila, the current leader of the clan and the man behind a recent armed strike carried out by the group in retaliation for the extradition to the United States of the former ring leader known as "Otoniel."
According to Colombian authorities, Ballesteros was captured while traveling along the Medellin-Llanos de Cuiva Highway in a luxury van accompanied by a woman.
Ballesteros was responsible for shipping at least 12 tons of cocaine hydrochloride to the United States, making him a "high-value target" to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and has been summoned by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to answer to charges of drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit a crime.
According to the DEA, Ballesteros's modus operandi was to ship cocaine in speedboats from the western coast of the Gulf of Uraba, on Colombia's northern coast, to countries such as Panama and Costa Rica, and from there to the United States.