Colombian ex-police chief Mauricio Santoyo Velasco handed himself over to U.S. authorities in the state of Virgina on Tuesday morning amid accusations of collaboration with crime syndicate Oficina de Envigado, reported newspaper El Espectador.
According to Colombian radio station RCN, Santoyo handed himself over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Bogota on Monday night. He then boarded a plane to the United States and landed on U.S. soil at 7AM Tuesday morning.
Colombia’s current police chief, Jose Roberto Leon Riaño, said to El Espectador that “the information is that he contacted the U.S. authorities. He travelled equiped with all the formalities needed to leave the country. What we know at this moment is that he travelled with special permission or temporary visa which was given to him by the North American authorities.”
RCN wrote that Santoyo contacted DEA agents last week to negotiate his surrender.
The retired general has been accused by a local Virgina court of using his position to protect the paramilitary organization United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) and the Antioquia-based crime syndicate Oficina de Envigado and was charged with drug trafficking June 16.
The U.S. case against Santoyo began with testimonies from the former AUC commanders Salvatore Mancuso and Juan Carlos Sierra, who claimed that Santoyo had collaborated with them in a wide range of issues related to drug trafficking.
Santoyo was the security advisor to former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe during his first administration between 2002 and 2006.