American law enforcers and Venezuela's national drug police cooperated in an unlikely international operation this week to capture one of South America's most wanted drug lords, on Venezuelan soil, reports the New York Times. Not only did it involve Americans, but it was directed from Washington. The arrest of the drug lord, Daniel Barrera, known as El Loco, was the result of a complex four-nation endeavor.
Colombian police and intelligence officials camped out in a Washington hotel room with their American counterparts, monitoring electronic surveillance of South American phone calls. The CIA, the DEA and the British intelligence agency MI6 contributed expertise. The officials in the hotel room were in contact with agents in Venezuela, who swooped in to arrest Barrera as he chatted on a pay phone in front of a church in the city of San Cristóbal, near the border with Colombia.