The DEA's Big Bust: Did They Get the Wrong Guy?

The March 4 arrest was dramatic. Gun-toting Drug Enforcement Administration agents stopped a van near Philadelphia and pulled out VICTOR MANUEL TAFUR DOMINGUEZ. Justice Department officials proudly announced he was a fugitive drug trafficker who would be the first Colombian ever extradited from the U.S. to Colombia.

One problem: it seems Tafur, 36, is actually a lawyer who worked in a coca-eradication program in Colombia. He came to the U.S. for treatment after a plane crash and was studying environmental law when Colombian prosecutors asked that he be detained. On Dec. 3, 1998, police there seized seven tons of cocaine in...

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