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Brazil Extradites Colombian Drug Trafficker to US


Brazil has extradited drug trafficker Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia to the United States, where he is wanted on murder, racketeering and drug charges as one of the most powerful leaders of Colombia's cocaine cartels.

Brazilian federal police said Friday Ramirez Abadia was flown from a prison in central Brazil to a region of the Amazon where he was handed over to U.S. federal agents.

The U.S. Justice Department says Ramirez Abadia will face federal murder charges in New York and charges of drug trafficking and money laundering in New York and Washington.

Brazilian justice officials announced their approval of Ramirez Abadia's extradition Wednesday, but Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva had the final say on whether the extradition would go forward.

Brazil's Supreme Court ruled in favor of the extradition in March.

Brazil had said that for the extradition to go ahead, the United States had to promise if Ramirez Abadia is convicted, he will not serve more than 30 years in prison - the maximum sentence allowed under Brazilian law.

Known as Chupeta (Lollipop), Ramirez Abadia was arrested last August in Sao Paulo. He is accused of running Colombia's Norte del Valle drug cartel in the 1990s.

Prosecutors say the cartel shipped about $10 billion worth of cocaine to the United States and ordered the killings of police and informants in both the United States and Colombia.

Ramirez Abadia had previously been indicted on federal drug trafficking charges in Colorado in 1994 and in New York in 1995 and 2004.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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