Colombian president: Medellin drug cartel totally dismantled

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP)—The death of drug lord Pablo Escobar left the Medellin cocaine cartel ‘‘totally dismantled,’‘ Colombian President Cesar Gaviria said Sunday.

‘‘We Colombians have proved that there was no criminal organization capable of challenging our state,’‘ Gaviria told reporters as he arrived in Chile for a 24-hour visit.

Escobar, head of the Medellin cocaine cartel, was killed by police and soldiers during a raid Thursday on the drug lord’s two-story hideout in Medellin, Colombia.

Gaviria said he did not believe Escobar had a successor who would take over the cartel, and said reprisals by cartel remnants were unlikely.

‘‘We are very satisfied that our policies have finally left the … so-called Medellin Cartel totally dismantled,’‘ he said.

The Medellin cartel was once the world’s biggest drug trafficking organization. But even before Escobar’s death, the group was greatly weakened by the arrests or deaths of his aides.

At the same time, the Medellin cartel’s main rival, the Cali cartel, grew into the country’s largest and most powerful drug trafficking group.

In Colombia, a Medellin police spokesman who identified himself only as Lt. Rodriguez confirmed reports that Escobar’s relatives were claiming he committed suicide, and was not slain by security forces.

Escobar’s widow, Victoria, speaking by telephone from a Bogota hotel where she and her children were staying under military guard, declined to discuss the family’s allegations.