Colombia’s former interior minister is investigated by the Supreme Court for his alleged ties to the now-defunct Norte del Valle cartel, local media reported on Monday.
According to “Don Diego,” a former boss of the cartel, former Minister Carlos Holguin (Conservative Party) received illegal political campaign contributions while running for the Senate from the former drug lord. None of the reports clarified which of Holguin’s four election runs was allegedly funded by the cartel.
This is not the first time that Don Diego has accused politicians of accepting campaign contributions from the Norte de Valle cartel. The ex-drug trafficker has also accused, among other politicians, former President Alvaro Uribe, ex-senators Luis Elmer Arenas and Dilian Francisca Toro, as well as former congresswomen Eleonora Pineda and Rocio Arias of the same crime.
Toro was detained under house arrest in July 2012 for allegedly engaging in real estate and money laundering deals with the now-defunct Cali cartel.
Pineda served 19 months in prison for her ties with the now demobilized paramilitary organization AUC. The former congresswoman was the first politician to be sentenced for her ties to the far right paramilitaries in what later became the parapolitics scandal, the political influence of the AUC in state institutions and the intimidation of voters to vote for AUC-backed politicians.
Ex-congresswoman Arias was released from prison in 2009 after serving 27 months for making pacts with paramilitary death squads.
Don Diego was extradited to the United States in 2008 by the administration of former President Alvaro Uribe, who was accused of carrying out the mass extradition of drug lords and paramilitary leaders to prevent the criminals from revealing ties between Colombia’s drug trade and the country’s political elite.
More than 45 congressmen have been convicted for receiving drug money or paramilitary support for their campaigns
Diego was sentenced to 45 years in a US prison in 2009 for drug trafficking, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and manslaughter.