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Colombian police have captured a man they describe as one of the world's top drug dealers and say he is suspected of killing hundreds of people in building a heroin empire.

A task force of soldiers and special judicial police caught Ivan Urdinola April 27 in a farm called Porcelain in the town of Zalza, 125 miles west of Bogota. Authorities described the capture as the most significant arrest of an alleged trafficker since Medellin cartel boss Pablo Escobar surrendered last year.

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Mr. Urdinola built a rural empire near Cali, southwest of Bogota and home of the largest drug smuggling organization in the world, according to officials who say he feuded with his rivals in the Cali cartel and was the target of a botched car-bomb attack last year.

They allege he bribed local police and ordered the killing of hundreds of opponents whose bodies were dumped in the Cauca River, nicknamed the "River of Death" by locals.

Urdinola is not eligible for a leniency program because he did not give himself up.

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