Fugitive Colombian gang leader arrested in Madrid
Among other crimes, he was wanted for murder of environmental activist
One of the most wanted men in Colombia, an alleged gang leader known as Pinocho, has been arrested in Madrid, Spanish police said Thursday.
In a Twitter post, Colombian President Ivan Duque applauded the capture of the man that he identified as Fredy Castillo, and said authorities continue proving that there is no impunity for criminals.
Castillo is wanted in Colombia for his role in the organized crime gang Los Pachenca and aggravated homicide.
Among several crimes, Castillo is accused of assassinating a local environmental activist.
Spanish police said environmentalists are frequently targeted by violent Colombian gangs and pointed to the case of 14-year-old activist Breiner David Cucuname, who was shot dead last week while on patrol with an indigenous group seeking to protect the land from armed groups.
Castillo already served five years behind bars in the US for drug trafficking.
After his return to Colombia, Castillo sold himself as a changed man who gave up a life of crime and was dedicated to social work, according to Colombian media.
He even won a defamation lawsuit against the Colombian newspaper El Expediente last year, after journalists named him as a key member of the Pachenca gang, which operates in the Caribbean region of Magdalena.
But Colombian prosecutors now believe the man -- whose nickname Pinocho refers to the wooden marionette whose nose grows when he tells lies -- has been quietly leading the gang from the shadows.
In October, Spanish police were alerted to an international warrant that was issued by Colombia.
After collaborating with Colombian police and the American Drug Enforcement Agency, they nabbed him in the Spanish capital.