Posted by Charles Parkinson on Jan 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Colombian drug kingpin ‘El Socio’ set for release

Eduardo Restrepo

Colombian drug kingpin “El Socio” will be released from a U.S. prison in May, after brokering a deal with authorities, reported El Tiempo Thursday.

The agreement to set Eduardo Restrepo Victoria free cuts five years from the 11 year sentence handed to him by a US court in 2007.

It follows negotiations this month in which Restrepo allegedly provided “generous” information to the US Drugs Enforcement Administration.

“Obviously the [sentence] reduction was not free, but the agreement is confidential,” said Joaquin Perez, Restrepo’s lawyer.

“He was a broker and not a murderous gunman. His father was a mayor and [Restrepo] has studied,” Perez added.

According to El Tiempo’s federal sources, Restrepo provided lots of infomation, but refused to disclose the names of the politicians, policemen and businessmen he had links with.

Restrepo was imprisoned in the US for his role in controlling drug flow and communications between the Norte del Valle cartel in Colombia and the Tijuana cartel in Mexico, amassing a huge personal fortune in the process.

Despite his release in the U.S., Restrepo is expected to face further charges in Colombia for his involvement with the Tolima and Bolivar drug gangs, which both operated under the auspices of the AUC paramilitary organization.

While Restrepo has apparently declined to provide the names of officials, he has already caused the downfall of several political heavyweights in Colombia, as a result of the “parapolitics scandal“.

The scandal broke in 2006 when a confiscated paramilitary group’s laptop was found to contain hard evidence of links between high-ranking officials and paramilitary groups.

The investigation saw more than 150 congressmen investigated, the majority from then-president Alvaro Uribe’s coalition, resulting in at least 20 convictions, including of Uribe’s own brother.

Congressmen Luis Humberto Gallo and Gonzalo Garcia Angarita were both convicted because of links to Restrepo.