Colombian crime boss killed

Bogota, Jul 19 (EFE).- A regional leader of Colombia's powerful Los Rastrojos crime organization was killed in a police operation in the southwestern province of Valle del Cauca, the government said Friday.

Carlos Enrique Salazar, alias "Negro Guerrero," directed the criminal activities of some 250 men from his base in Garrapatas Canyon, authorities said.

President Juan Manuel Santos announced Salazar's death via Twitter.

"We eliminated - en Riofrio - alias 'Negro Guerrero,' chief of Los Rastrojos, responsible for extortion in the north of Valle," the head of state tweeted.

Los Rastrojos is largely made up of some of the right-wing paramilitaries who declined to demobilize as part of a 2004-2006 peace process with the government.

Salazar, who belonged to a militia operating in the southern border province of Putumayo, was among the paramilitaries who refused to lay down their arms.

Even while ostensibly devoted to battling leftist guerrillas, the militias engaged in drug trafficking, protection rackets, cattle rustling and other crimes.