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Leading drug suspect killed

A crack Colombian police unit killed the head of the Medellin cocaine cartel's armed wing who was also a cousin of drug boss Pablo Escobar in a shootout Tuesday. A police statement said Luis Gaviria Gomez, 35, and his 22-year-old bodyguard were killed during a 2 a.m. raid by the police Elite Corps on a farm near Guarne, some 20 miles east of the cocaine center of Medellin.

Police said Gaviria Gomez was a cousin of Escobar, boss of the Medellin cartel, and had taken command of the armed wing of the cartel following the police killing in August of another of Escobar's cousins and right-hand man, Gustavo Gaviria. Gaviria Gomez also played an important role in the smuggling of cocaine abroad, the statement said.

The killing could threaten a truce declared by the drug barons on July 27 which ended a year of all-out drug war.

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