Photo: Bismarck Jiron Lira (Manuel Esquivel)
A man suspected of being the “main operator” of Colombia’s Norte del Valle drug cartel in Nicaragua and who was the subject of an arrest warrant issued in June 2011 has been arrested, the National Police said.
Bismarck Jiron Lira, who had more than $500,000 in his possession, was detained Saturday morning in an upscale neighborhood in south Managua, National Police spokesman Fernando Borge told Efe.
“Mr. Bismarck is the main operator of the Colombian Norte del Valle cartel in Nicaragua and of that gang’s leader, Javier Cachiro,” Borge said.
Jiron Lira, a Nicaraguan citizen who has been involved in drug trafficking for more than 12 years, was arrested with his wife, Ana Luna Ponce, Borge said.
Police seized three luxury vehicles, cash and a house from the suspects, Borge said, adding that searches would be conducted at other properties linked to the Colombian cartel.
Investigators had been tracking Jiron Lira since last year, when an anti-drug operation was staged in the Caribbean region, the National Police spokesman said.
The Norte del Valle cartel, considered one of the world’s largest drug trafficking organizations, has been accused of smuggling some 500 tons of cocaine into the United States between 1990 and 2004.