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The former head of Guinea-Bissau's navy, ex-rear admiral Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto, has been captured and sent to the United States, which suspects him of drug trafficking, local media and sources said late Thursday.
"Bubo Na Tchuto has been captured in international waters" near Cape Verde during an operation by "north American and Cape Verdian" police, the public television station RTC reported, adding that "he has already been sent to the United States".
Na Tchuto has been on a US list of suspected drug barons since 2010.
In Guinea Bissau, the head of the national radio, Carlos Gomes Nhafe, a friend of Na Tchuto, told AFP that he had received a phone call from the former navy chief, who told him about the arrest.
"He called me this (Thursday) morning from Sal, in Cape Verde, to tell me he had been arrested and that he is en route to the United States," said Gomes Nhafe.
No military official in Bissau would comment on the matter.
An intelligence officer in Bissau, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that the ex-rear admiral was "captured by American agents".
Na Tchuto was accused of being the leader of a coup attempt in December 2011. He was arrested and later released with 18 others in June last year on orders of the country's current army chief, General Antonio Indjai.
Guinea-Bissau has suffered chronic instability since independence from Portugal in 1974 due to conflict between the army and state.
Drug traffickers have turned the small and poor west African country into a transit point for cocaine between Latin America and Europe.