BOGOTA, Oct 2 (Reuters) - One of Colombia's most wanted drug traffickers died on Friday in an air force bombing raid in northern jungles close to the Venezuelan border, the government said.
The death of Victor Ramon Navarro, known as Megateo, is a major blow to drug trafficking and ends a long search focused on an area where drug gangs and Marxist rebels operate. Navarro had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head.
"Air Force intelligence confirms that Megateo was killed. Big hit, congratulations. Criminals either face justice or end in a grave," President Juan Manuel Santos said on his Twitter account.
The killing is the biggest security success for Santos since the death in 2011 of Alfonso Cano, leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebel group (FARC).
The FARC and government are currently negotiating a peace accord in Cuba.
Navarro, 39, claimed to be the leader of a faction of former leftist guerrilla movement the Popular Liberation Army, which demobilized in the 1990s after signing a peace accord. But the government said that was a front for a powerful drug trafficking organization.
The air raid took place in a jungle area of Acari, in Norte de Santander province.
The U.S. State Department included Navarro on its 'most wanted' list and accused him of controlling vast fields of coca, the raw material for making cocaine, and laboratories to make cocaine headed for the United States and Europe.
Colombia is one of the world's principal cocaine producers, turning out about 400 metric tonnes a year. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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