Colombia’s former neo-paramilitary drug lord, alias “Sebastian,” is reportedly close to reaching a deal with US authorities following his extradition to the United States, which will likely see him serve a reduced sentence, Caracol Radio reported Tuesday.
Ericson Cardona Vargas, alias “Sebastian” is supposedly close to reaching a deal with US authorities where he will plead guilty, according to a document obtained by Colombia’s Caracol Radio.
Settled before trial
|“The parties are having productive discussions about the conviction, and there is a reasonable possibility that this case will be settled before trial”|
The letter was allegedly sent on May 16 by the prosecutor Preet Bharara to Judge Harold Baer Jr. of the Southern District Court of New York.
“The parties are having productive discussions about the conviction, and there is a reasonable possibility that this case will be settled before trial,” read the document.
The document also explains that the US has collected a lot of data from computers and cell phones seized at the site of the arrest, while Colombian authorities continue to send proof of his criminal history.
The letter states that the US government is continuing to receive new data and will seek to provide more information next week.
One of Colombia’s most wanted criminals
Sebastian began his criminal career in the 1990s when he was a low-ranking member of the Oficina de Envigado, the military wing of Pablo Escobar‘s Medellin cartel. The cartel member joined his superior “Don Berna” in the Pepes, a vigilante group that had turned against Escobar and his cartel together with Colombian security forces.
After the death of Escobar, Don Berna took over the Oficina and integrated Escobar’s army into his paramilitary “Cacique Nutibara Block” that assumed Escobar’s control of the Medellin underworld and part of the late capo’s drug trafficking routes.
He was extradited to the United States in October 2013.
Since his extradition to the US he has been in negotiation with the authorities in an effort to reduce his sentence, which has often proved to be the case if one proves guilty and thereby prevents the case from going to court.
The case of Fritanga
Most recently in May, Camilo Torres Martinez, alias “Fritanga,” the former deputy of the criminal organization, the “Urabeños,” was sentenced to 12 years and 5 months in jail after he accepted three of the charges leveled against him.
The sentence was seen as extremely favorable to Fritanga as he was originally believed to be facing 40 years in jail.
In another case, former drug lord and paramilitary, Juan Carlos Sierra Ramirez, alias “El Tuso,” was released from a Virginia prison on March 14 of 2013, after having served only 5 years in prison. He was recently spared from deportation back to Colombia and as a result escaped being held to account for further crimes.
The issue of Colombian criminals collaborating with US authorities in exchange for lesser and more lenient sentences has angered some officials in Colombia who believe that such practices are further cultivating a sense of impunity for some of Colombia’s worst criminals.
- Alias Sebastián, cerca de lograr acuerdo con EE.UU. (Caracol Radio)