BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) -- Colombia has arrested a key figure in the
gangland-style killing of a New York journalist who specialized in
investigative reports about the country's powerful drug cartels, police and
local media reported Sunday.
They said Guillermo Leon Restrepo Gaviria, alleged mastermind of the killing
of Cuban-American journalist Manuel de Dios Unanue, was arrested
Saturday in the upscale El Poblado district of the northwest city of Medellin.
Unanue, a former news editor of New York's Spanish-language daily El
Diario-La Prensa, was shot and killed by a masked gunman in a restaurant in
the Jackson Heights district of Queens, New York, on March 11, 1992.
Police sources told Bogota's leading newspapers that Restrepo Gaviria is
accused of having planned the killing on behalf of Jose Santacruz Londono,
a leader of the Cali drug cartel who was gunned down by police after his
escape from a maximum security prison in Colombia in March 1996.
Two other Colombians have been arrested in connection with the killing
Unanue and one of them, Wilson Alejandro Mejia Velez, was convicted to
life imprisonment by a court in New York's Brooklyn borough in March
Judicial officials said Restrepo Gaviria faced probable extradition to
York because of his reputed role in the killing, for which Santacruz Londono
is thought to have paid $50,000.
The Cali cartel, whose kingpins have all been jailed or killed since 1995,
once controlled up to 80 percent of the world's cocaine trade.
Shortly before his murder Unanue had written an expose about the brother
of a cartel leader who was arrested in 1991, after U.S. drug agents
discovered 12 tons of cocaine hidden in a shipment of cement posts
imported from Venezuela.
Copyright 1999 Reuters.