Members of the army based in eastern Colombia protected and helped “Cuchillo,” one of Colombia’s most wanted paramilitary drug lords, a soldier told newscast Noticias Uno.
According to soldier John Quirama, his army unit used to receive money from Carlos Mario Jimenez, alias “Macaco,” to make sure the paramilitary chief’s drug-related activities in the Vichada department would not be hindered by the army. The payments continued after his demobilization in 2005.
But in May 2007 Cuchillo, who went underground after the demobilization of paramilitary organization AUC, outbid Macaco’s bribe. After that the army units backed Cuchillo, who was trying to take over Macaco’s drug business in the east, the soldier said.
Quirama, who has testified before the Prosecutor General’s Office about alleged army support for the drug lord, said that some soldiers were dedicated to drug trafficking and that Cuchillo financially rewarded soldiers who killed men working for Macaco.
Macaco was extradited to the United States in May 2008 after which Cuchillo became one of the leading drug lords in Colombia. Authorities are offering a $2.5 million dollar reward for the capture of the paramilitary.
According to Noticias Uno, the human rights department of the Prosecutor General’s Office is investigating the allegations and is considering an investigation against the colonel who allegedly aligned with the drug lord.