In one operation, the prosecutor general’s team arrested twenty-five people from Choco and Antioquia. Among the detainees were four current or former mayors from northern Antioquia, a former town councilor, a contractor, and a radio journalist.
In a separate operation in Santander, police arrested five current and former town councilors for receiving bribes from the paramilitary group “Central Bolivar Bloc” between 2003 and 2007. This was one of the largest groups that made up the now demobilized AUC paramilitary association. It was commanded by alias “Jorge 40,” now extradited to the U.S. on drug trafficking charges.
The attorney general has said that more arrests can be expected in the upcoming days.
Those arrested in Antioquia are charged with supporting a political project launched by paramilitary fighter Freddy Rendon Herrera, alias “El Aleman,” or “The German,” in 2002. With local support, El Aleman funded the election of paramilitary supporters to various mayor’s offices and municipal governments.
El Aleman has said that he donated approximately $105,400 to fund the campaigns of congressional candidates, and approximately another $27,000 to fund mayoral campaigns in Antioquia’s north-western Uraba region.
Former senator Ruben Dario Quintero was also sent to prison for accepting about $50,000 in bribes from Herrera.
Herrera demobilized in August 2006 and is currently imprisoned in the Itagui detention facility outside Bogota.
Herrera’s brother Daniel, better known as “Don Mario,” was captured by authorities in April 2009 and also being held in prison. He is currently negotiating the terms of his extradition to the U.S.