The brother of a former President of Colombia’s Supreme Court has been arrested after the United States had linked him to drug trafficking, local media reported on Thursday.
Rafael de Jesus Ricaurte was arrested in the Caribbean city of Santa Marta after the Southern District Court of New York had charged him with undisclosed crimes related to drug trafficking and ordered an international arrest warrants against the prominent member of the coastal elite.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, the suspect was arrested with a second drug trafficking suspect by DEA agents with the help of prosecution officials.
In that same year, Ricaurte unsuccessfully ran in regional elections aiming to join the Assembly of the Magdalena state.
The suspect’s brother is not just the former president of the Supreme Court, but also an ex-member of the Superior Judicial Council, the court that manages the entire judicial branch of Colombia.
According to political website La Silla Vacia, the former magistrate continues to have influence in the courts in spite of his resignation in 2014 due to alleged influence peddling.
According to the ex-wife of Fabio Ochoa, who founded the Medellin Cartel with Pablo Escobar in the 1970s, the former Supreme Court president had been working together with the crime family to illegally obtain plots of land in the Caribbean. Ricaurte has denied this.
In spite the scandals, “he is the power behind the throne,” an anonymous source within the judicial branch told the website.
The Ricuarte family is not the first elite family to get into trouble with justice over ties to drug trafficking, not even in recent years.
The then-minister saw his brother Guillermo, the then-director of the Medellin prosecution office, imprisoned in 2009 after prosecutors found out he was doing favors for neo-paramilitary group the Urabeños and the now-defunct Norte del Valle Cartel.
Francisco Javier Ricaurte Gómez (La Silla Vacia)
‘Fui víctima de una decisión ilegal’: Francisco Ricaurte (Superior Judiciary Council)