Three Colombian men accused of belonging to the Colombian rebel group FARC have been arrested and charged with holding a U.S. citizen hostage for more than 10 months, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.
Edilberto Berrio Ortiz, Alejandro Palacios Rengifo and Anderson Chamapuro Dogirama were arrested by Colombian authorities on Thursday. U.S. prosecutors say they are members of FARC’s 57th Front.
The American they are accused of holding hostage was kidnapped in April 2008 in the Costa del Este neighborhood of Panama City and released in February 2009 after a relative paid ransom. Prosecutors would not identify him.
One other person also is in Colombian custody in relation to the hostage case, while another five people named in an indictment are at large.
The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is fighting a four-decade-old insurgency against the Colombian government and are designated as a foreign terrorist or organization by the U.S. State Department.
According to U.S. and Colombian authorities, the FARC funds its operations through cocaine trafficking and extortion. U.S. officials say it has evolved into the world’s biggest supplier of cocaine.