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Alleged drug kingpin extradited to U.S.

BOGOTA — Colombia has extradited to the United States an alleged drug trafficker whose organization is accused of exporting more than 50 metric tons of cocaine a year to the U.S. and Europe.

Colombian and U.S. authorities said Ramon Quintero was a top Norte del Valle cartel trafficker who shipped drugs through Mexican cartels.

Mr. Quintero was arrested in Ecuador last year, and reporters watched him board a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration plane Monday. He was indicted in Florida’s southern district in 2008.


Cabinet chief out; interior minister steps in

LIMA — Peruvian Cabinet chief Salomon Lerner resigned Saturday after less than five months in the post and was replaced by the interior minister, who inherits an unresolved dispute over the country’s biggest mining investment.

The reason for Mr. Lerner’s resignation was not explained, but he was involved recently in failed attempts to negotiate an end to protests that stalled the $4.8 billion Conga gold-mining project, which has been plagued by increasingly violent protests.

His resignation letter, posted online by the newspaper La Republica, does not make direct reference to the conflict but hints that Mr. Lerner was unhappy with the government’s handling of it.

As Cabinet chief, Mr. Lerner wrote in the 1 1/2-page resignation letter, “our direct mandate has been dialogue and the seeking of consensus to avoid confrontation between Peruvians.”

After just one day of talks that Mr. Lerner led with local officials who fear the Conga project could taint and diminish water supplies affecting thousands, President Ollanta Humala on Dec. 5 called a state of emergency in four affected northern provinces for 60 days.

Mr. Lerner’s replacement, Interior Minister Oscar Valdes, is a 62-year-old former army officer who quit the military as a lieutenant in 1991 and became a successful executive at various businesses in the southern coastal city of Tacna, most recently a trucking company and pasta producer.

From wire dispatches and staff reports