The Miami Herald
Mar. 27, 2002

Colombian gang leader arrested in prelate's death

                      BOGOTA, Colombia - (AP) -- The head of a Cali-based gang that trains young assassins was arrested
                      in connection with the recent slaying of the city's archbishop, officials said Tuesday.

                      The man, identified by authorities as John Jairo Maturana, was picked up in a joint police-army
                      operation Monday in Cali, Colombia's third-largest city. Authorities said they believe he has information
                      on the killing, and may even have taken part.

                      Maturana is the first major suspect arrested in the March 17 killing.

                      Gunmen killed Archbishop Isaías Duarte Cancino that night as he was leaving a mass wedding in a poor
                      Cali neighborhood.

                      He is the highest-ranking Roman Catholic clergyman killed in this country plagued by 38 years of civil

                      Authorities have said they suspect cocaine traffickers were behind the assassination of the bishop, who
                      had recently denounced the entry of drug dollars in legislative elections.

                      Gen. Francisco Pedraza of the army's Third Division based in Cali said Maturana, nicknamed ''Marimba''
                      and believed to be in his late 20s, was the leader of one of the city's most feared gangs.

                      ''Maturana, in the structure of organized crime, is the head of the assassins school,'' Pedraza told RCN

                      ''He should be able to give information . . . or could have even participated in the death of the bishop,
                      because he is a person who deals in the business of death,'' Pedraza said.

                      Shown briefly to the media along with a revolver found at the time of the arrest, Maturana told
                      reporters he is innocent. Police said he has outstanding arrest warrants for homicide and weapons