BUENOS AIRES – A hearing began on Tuesday in Argentine federal court on a U.S. extradition request for Colombian national Henry de Jesus Lopez Londoño, a purported drug trafficker known as “Mi Sangre” (My Blood).
Amid heavy security, Lopez Londoño was transported from Ezeiza prison to the courthouse in Buenos Aires.
The suspect was detained in Argentina in 2011 after he entered the country on a false passport in the company of his wife and son. Colombia’s National Police identifies Lopez Londoño as one of the main suppliers of cocaine to Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel.
A U.S. federal court in southern Florida is seeking his extradition on charges of drug smuggling and conspiracy.
The extradition hearing had been scheduled initially to begin on Nov. 21, 2013, but was delayed by “a series of maneuvers,” Judge Sebastian Ramos wrote in a decision setting the start of proceedings for Tuesday.
The judge warned Lopez Londoño and his attorneys during Tuesday’s session that “no more delays will be admitted.”
Lopez Londoño was reputedly the top boss of Los Urabeños, a paramilitary organization with drug ties that is considered one of Colombia’s most dangerous criminal groups.
Lopez Londoño is suspected of having been a lieutenant of paramilitary chief Diego Murillo, better known as “Don Berna,” who was extradited to the United States in 2008 along with other leaders of the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, to face drug and money-laundering charges.
The AUC, which was founded to battle leftist rebels, deteriorated into a loose association of drug-dealing death squads led by men who amassed large fortunes. It ostensibly disbanded in 2006.
AUC fighters killed more than 250,000 people over the course of two decades, according to a U.S. State Department cable disseminated by WikiLeaks.