Colombia: US charges ex-security chief with drug trafficking

A US prosecutor has filed drug trafficking charges against a retired Colombian police general who was former President Alvaro Uribe‘s security chief, newspaper El Tiempo reported June 15. According to the charges filed before the Eastern District Court of Virginia, retired Gen. Mauricio Santoyo Velasco collaborated with paramilitary organization AUC and MedellĂ­n-based crime syndicate Oficina de Envigado between 2000 and 2008. Santoyo was Uribe’s security chief between 2002 and 2006 after which he was named military attachĂ© in Italy.

According to El Tiempo, the retired general is suspected of having been paid by both paramilitary organizations to leak classified intelligence information and results of illegal wiretaps about competing drug traffickers “who were later found assassinated.” Newspaper El Espectador reported Sunday that the retired General has been accused of collaborating with drug traffickers by former AUC commanders Salvatore Mancuso and “Macaco.” According to the newspaper, the two extradited paramilitaries have accused several other high police and army officials of having ties to the AUC. According to a recent report, almost 1,200 Colombian officials face accusations of collaborating with the AUC. (Colombia Reports, June 17)

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