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SA-based drug lord arrested in Rome

Pablo Yester-Garrido lives in Sandton with his Italian girlfriend and their child he moves in the same circles as a number of prominent underworld figures.

FILE: Interpol agents monitor an operation. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News has learnt that an international fugitive and drug lord who made his home in Sandton, Johannesburg has been arrested on an Interpol red notice in Rome, Italy.

Nelson Pablo Yester-Garrido is wanted in the United States on suspicion of trafficking large quantities of cocaine in the 1990s and negotiating to buy a soviet era submarine for a Colombian drug cartel.

He has previously faced charges in South Africa for his alleged involvement in a massive cocaine bust near Port Elizabeth but it was alleged Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir paid off prosecutors to have the charges against him dropped.

Pablo Yester-Garrido lives in Sandton with his Italian girlfriend and their child. He moves in the same circles as a number of prominent underworld figures.

Garrido's story reads like the script of a spy thriller with claims he was a KGB-trained intelligence agent, a player in a Colombian drug cartel and an international fugitive.

He has been living in Johannesburg since 2002, first under the alias of Antonio Lamas, a Mexican dealer in aircraft spares, and then under his real name.

Earlier this year, it was claimed that prosecutors in the Eastern Cape were paid off with a briefcase full of cash to withdraw drug dealing charges against him.

It’s unclear what Garrido was doing in Rome when he was arrested in October but he was arrested on an Interpol red notice and is expected to be extradited to the US to face charges.

South African police have confirmed his arrest.

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