Police recaptured one of Argentina’s most wanted murderers, Cristian Lanatta, convicted of drug-related killings, in a chase through flooded farmland on Saturday, as part of a 13-day manhunt that raised questions over the political connections of the country’s narco gangs.
The Argentine government has withdrawn its initial statement indicating all three fugitives had been apprehended. Victor Schillaci and Martin Lanatta, Cristian’s brother, have not been brought in by the police.
Hundreds of security agents, including police commandos and sharpshooters, hunted down the man in the grains province of Santa Fe, north of the capital Buenos Aires.
President Mauricio Macri congratulated the security forces and promised to fight the drug gangs that use Argentina as a transit point for smuggling South American drugs to Europe and the Americas. On his twitter account, he said there’a “lot more work.”
His Security Minister, Patricia Bullrich, celebrated the capture while exiting the ministry building.
“We have a success in the fight against narcotrafficking. We are very happy and the president (Mauricio Macri) is very proud,” she told local reporters.
Victor Schillaci and brothers Martin and Cristian Lanatta had been on the run since escaping from a maximum security jail where they were serving life sentences on Dec. 27.
Local police in the town of Cayasta, 570 km (354 miles) north of the capital, were tipped off about their whereabouts after the stolen vehicle the men were using got bogged down on a muddy track, hours after they rolled a different pick-up truck.
Martin Lanatta was nabbed mid-morning.