Radio Caracol named on Friday three former Colombian generals who are allegedly set to go under investigation in the U.S. for collaborating with paramilitary groups along with ex-security chief Mauricio Santoyo.
According to the Colombian radio station the men to be investigated “would be” retired general Ruben Carrillo Vanegas, who served as commander of the central northwestern Antioquia police between 2004 and 2006, General Luis Eduardo Martinez, director of the Bogota police, who in 2006 took over as commander of the Antioquia police and retired general Teodoro Campo, who was in the Antioquia police between September 1990 and 1992.
Former President Alvaro Uribe‘s ex-chief of security Santoyo is being investigated in the U.S. for his collaboration with paramilitary organization AUC that allegedly involved illegal wiretapping, intimidation, kidnappings and disappearances. The retired general also acknowledged accepting bribes from paramilitary members in exchange for giving them information about police operations being carried out against them.
Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, who are known to have no affiliation with Radio Caracol, had previously reported that U.S. prosecutors hoped that Santoyo’s collaboration with U.S. justice would lead to progress in the investigations against three other retired generals, all from Antioquia, which is the home department of both Santoyo and Uribe.
Meanwhile Television network Caracol reported last month that the case against Santoyo was only the “tip of the iceberg” and that the U.S. is investigating dozens of former Colombian officials for their ties to the AUC, which controlled most of Colombia’s drug trade until its demobilization in 2006 and has been on the U.S. terrorist groups list since 2001.
However contrary to these reports are the claims from Colombian Police Director General Jose Roberto Leon Riaño, who said that Santoyo is the only official, active or retired, currently being investigated.
Leon Riaño claims to have received this information from U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride, saying that the “toughest” prosecutor in the U.S. on the matter of drug trafficking confirmed that for the moment “there are no current investigations against active or retired officials” of the Colombian police.
Upon contact to Eastern District of Virginia Attorney‘s office, a spokesman declined to comment on the interview and whether or not other investigations were being conducted, instead they referred to what MacBride said after Santoyo‘s guilty plea to the charges.
“This important prosecution holds accountable a rogue individual who abandoned his duty to protect the Colombian people to serve his own interests and those of drug traffickers and terrorists. Due to the hard work and cooperation of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Colombian National Police, we have been able to bring this investigation and prosecution to a successful conclusion,” it said.