The Colombian Government says the country's last major drug lord has been caught in neighbouring Venezuela in an international operation involving the US and Britain.
Daniel 'El Loco' Barrera, whose gang is thought to be responsible for sending more than 900 tons of cocaine to the US and Europe, was arrested in the Venezuelan city of San Cristobal.
"The last of the great capos has fallen," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced on national television, adding that the UK's MI6 intelligence service and America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had provided support for the Washington-led sting.
"This is perhaps the most important capture of recent times," the president said, thanking the Venezuelan government for its help.
Venezuelan Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami confirmed the arrest on Twitter, calling it a "major coup" for his country.
The country's foreign ministry said Barrera was captured "after an intelligence operation carried out by Venezuelan authorities," without mentioning any foreign involvement.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has long had rocky relations with Washington and regularly accuses the US of trying to undermine his leftist government.
President Santos said the operation "was led from Washington," adding the head of Colombia's national police, General Jose Leon Riano, had helped direct it from the US capital.
Speaking from Washington, Gen Riano told the Caracol television network that authorities had tracked Barrera for four months before arresting him at a phone booth in San Cristobal.
In 2010 the US Treasury had named Barrera a "special designated narcotics trafficker," saying he faced criminal charges in New York and was allied with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) - Colombia's largest rebel group and Latin America's longest-running insurgency.
In the 1980s and early 1990s Colombian cartels dominated the American drug trade, but a US-supported government crackdown has left local gangs in increasing disarray.
However, regional cocaine trade is still rife and in 2011 Colombia was the world's largest cocaine producer, according to a United Nations report, though neighboring Peru is expected to overtake it soon.
Colombian criminal gangs as well as leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups sell the cocaine to Mexican criminal syndicates, who then smuggle it into the US and Europe.