Supreme Court approves extradition of narco paramilitary

The Supreme Court on Wednesday authorized the extradition of Eder Pedraza, alias “Ramon Mojana,” the first demobilized paramilitary to be sent to the U.S. since Colombia modified the extradition law in June.

The criminal division of the Supreme Court found that Pedraza had continued to use the structure of the Mojana Bloc, a wing of the AUC paramilitary organization which supposedly demobilized in 2005, to commit crimes after demobilization took place.

Despite his participation in the Justice and Peace process, the magistrates ruled that Pedraza “lacks the serious intention to contribute to reaching the truth, justice and reparation.”

U.S. authorities accuse Pedraza of beginning to smuggle drugs in 1999 and continuing these operations after claiming to disarm. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the paramilitary was linked to a cocaine shipment intercepted off the Jamaican coast on March 31, 2009.

The Supreme Court’s decision marks the first extradition since Colombia modified its extradition law on June 25. According to this amendment, Colombian judges may postpone the extradition of a participant in the Justice and Peace process if they have yet to answer for all the crimes they have committed.

However, the Ministry of Justice stressed that a participant would not benefit from a delay, if he does not adequately fulfill the requirements of justice, truth and reparation, or if he has continued to engage in crime after demobilizing.

Police forces arrested Pedraza in central Colombia on October 13, 2009.

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