Matriarch accused of leading drug clan captured

Police in Honduras have captured a woman accused of leading a drug trafficking clan with four of her sons.

Herlinda Bobadilla, 61, was arrested in the mountains of Honduras after a shoot-out in which her 32-year-old son, Tito Montes, was killed.

US authorities had requested that she and her sons, Tito and Juan Carlos Montes, be extradited to the US and had offered a $5m-reward (£4.1m) for each.

Thirty-five-year-old Juan Carlos Montes was on the run.

Police in Honduras said they received many tip-offs after the US State Department offered the multi-million dollar reward for the three two weeks ago.

They said they tracked down Herlinda Bobadilla and her sons, Tito and Juan Carlos, in the mountains of Colón province using aerial surveillance.

Special Forces were deployed to the area and following an “intense confrontation”, they arrested Herlinda Bobadilla.

In a statement, Honduran police said one member of the clan had been killed “when he opened fire on special ops agents”. The police chief later confirmed that the killed clan member was Tito Montes.

The Montes clan was accused of being one of the largest drug trafficking cartels in Honduras.

It had its powerbase on the northern coast of the Central American nation, where it received large shipments of cocaine from South America via sea and air.

According to US prosecutors, it used submarines, illegal aircraft and boats to transport the drugs from Colombia and other cocaine-producing nations.

The Montes clan then smuggled the illicit substances north through Central America and Mexico to the United States, prosecutors alleged.

It was reportedly founded as far back as the 1980s by Pedro García Montes, a Honduran with close links to Colombia’s Cali drugs cartel.

After García Montes was shot dead on a beach in Colombia by two hit men in 2004, his trafficking business was taken over by his cousin, Alex Adán Montes, one of Herlinda Bobadilla’s sons.

Alex Adán Montes was twice arrested on drugs charges. The first time, gunmen sprang him from house arrest, killing two of the officers guarding him and allowing him to flee to Colombia.

The second time, he was released into house arrest on medical grounds. He died of a heart attack in November 2014. -BBC

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