A Colombian military tribunal has sent 147 soldiers to jail for embezzling $22 million in cash they had found in 2003, local media reported Saturday.
The tribunal ordered the immediate arrest of the soldiers after convicting them and handing out sentences of between four and six years, depending on their rank.
The soldiers accidentally found the money that allegedly belonged to the FARC in the jungles of the southern Caqueta department. While the prosecutor and judge agreed with the soldiers’ defense that the officials had not stolen the money, the judge agreed with the prosecution who had claimed the soldiers did not have the right to keep the money.
The delegate of the Inspector General’s Office disagreed with the sentence. According to him, the massive seizure was “accidental and in their hearts [the defendants] thought it was a stroke of luck, that they could keep it because it belonged to nobody.” According to the delegate, the soldiers were “overcome by greed and lust.”
The story of the soldiers’ find and their extravagant adventures as unexpected “nouveau riche” were turned into a movie called “Soñar no Cuesta Nada” (Dreaming Costs Nothing).