NEW YORK -- Dandeny Munoz-Mosquera may be one of the world's busiest hired killers, but not too busy for a leisurely afternoon at Disneyland.
That was just one of Munoz-Mosquera's many stops during a trip the United States that apparently had spanned 12 days before it was abruptly interrupted Wednesday night by his arrest on a Queens street corner, according to federal officials tracking him for nearly two weeks.
Munoz-Mosquera -- who federal agents say may have killed or arranged the murders of more than 40 police officers, judges and politicians for the Medellin drug cartel in his native Colombia -- was in the city to commit murder, according to Drug Enforcement Administration agents and court papers filed in Brooklyn.
But the man identified as one of the world's most ruthless and prolific killers still found time for an afternoon at Disneyland with two friends during a visit to California last week, according to federal sources. When arrested, he was wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt he bought at the amusement park, said special agent John Peluso.
Munoz-Mosquera, 25, escaped from prison in Bogota April 18. Federal agents say he arrived in the United States Sept. 13. Munoz-Mosquera, who agents say lives a millionaire's life in Colombia, booked a $49-a-night hotel room in Anaheim, not far from Disneyland.
Two days before Munoz-Mosquera reached American soil, however, DEA officials in Washington were tipped by Colombian informants that he was bound for the West Coast.
Agent John Marcello, a spokesman for the DEA office in Los Angeles, said Munoz-Mosquera racked up a $452 bill in room charges over four nights, which he paid for in cash before before checking out Sept. 17. In the meantime, hotel employees told DEA agents that they saw Munoz-Mosquera frequently shuttle from his hotel room to a pay telephone across the street, Marcello said.
From there, Marcello said, he apparently hid out at the private residence of a friend in the Los Angeles area, where the Medellin cartel has managed to maintain control of a large chunk of the cocaine trade despite competition from its Cali rivals.
Saturday, Munoz-Mosquera flew into Kennedy Airport, according to Robert Bryden, special agent in charge of the DEA office in New York.
"We were playing catch-up," Marcello said. "We never had the guy. We were always a step behind him."
On the strength of an informant's call Wednesday, DEA agents traced him to a pay telephone, where Munoz-Mosquera -- unarmed except for a small folding knife -- was taken into federal custody.