Five former high-ranking officials were part of the “criminal structure” of Mauricio Santoyo, ex-head of security for former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, said Representative Ivan Cepeda Wednesday.
Cepeda made the claims before the House and produced numerous documents to support his accusation that the officials were linked to the criminal activities of Santoyo, currently incarcerated in the U.S. for his collaboration with paramilitary organization AUC and allegedly involving illegal wiretapping, intimidation, kidnappings and disappearances.
According to Cepeda, Santoyo was part of a “criminal structure” of officials and subofficials operating in the police force of Antioquia in the 1990s while Uribe was governor of that department and later moved to the presidential palace when Uribe was elected president in 2002.
“Uribe brought a criminal apparatus to the work of the presidency,” said Cepeda.
“Santoyo did not act alone, he arrived with his group and circle of confidantes to the presidential palace,” said the representative.
According to Cepeda, the following officials were part of Santoyo’s criminal network.
During the debate Cepeda insisted that Uribe should take political responsibility for his chief of security for collaborating in the wiretapping that took place when he was director of the anti-kidnapping unit of the Medellin police department. He also later backed up the demand on his Twitter account: “Santoyo is the political responsibility of ex-president Alvaro Uribe.”
These claims come only two weeks after the National Police ordered an investigation into all of Antioquia’s former commanders since 1995, when Uribe took office as the department’s governor.
An investigation was also ordered into the actions of police commanders during the demobilization talks with the AUC paramilitary organization following reports that Mauricio Santoyo’s brother made suspicious visits to paramilitary camps.
During the debate Cepeda accused Mauricio Santoyo and the officials of collaborating with paramilitaries from the presidential residence and holding clandestine meetings as well as scheming against the opposition.
“They were commanders of the police in Medellin and Antioquia and after they finished work they were in the presidential residence where they worked with Santoyo, whose relationship with Uribe is personal, friendly and went beyond the professional,” said Cepeda.
United States authorities are interrogating Uribe’s former security chief after he admitted he was on the AUC’s payroll. Several local media have reported that more (former) top officials may be charged by U.S. prosecutors over their links to the paramilitary group held responsible for the death of tens of thousands of Colombians.
Cepeda has long accused Uribe of having been an ally of the AUC, something that the former president always strongly denied.