Despite his “completely impeccable” pedigree, Colombia’s ambassador to Uruguay hired five defense attorneys after three cocaine labs were found on one of his properties.
Ambassador Fernando Sanclemente asked President Ivan Duque for six weeks off to “prepare his defense and be with his family,” weekly Semana reported on Wednesday, more than two weeks after the labs were discovered on the property in Guasca, Cundinamarca, that the Conservative Party dynasty diplomat shared with the Pivak family that owns the Dann hotel chain.
A lot of disappearing evidence
Two weeks after the police arrested five people at the lab, questions are piling up.
For one, Sanclemente was the director of Colombia’s civil aviation authority in 2007, the year that he and former President Alvaro Uribe received bribes from Sinaloa Cartel chief “El Chapo,” according to one witness.
In the same year, Sanclemente was allegedly granting dodgy contracts at Bogota’s El Dorado Airport, the Inspector General’s Office said when opening investigations in 2010.
I’m a good person. My family has a completely impeccable public image.
Not Colombian, but American customs authorities found out that the high-quality cocaine that was trafficked from Bogota was produced on the ambassador’s property.
Sanclemente didn’t move until after exiled prosecution investigator Richard Maok, who has been investigating Uribe’s alleged drug trafficking activities, reported the ambassador to Uruguayan authorities.
Colombian authorities have done nothing but complicate the investigation.
Police said that they found 10 kilograms of cocaine in the lab that had the capacity to produce at least one ton of the illicit drug per month, but no drugs appear on the prosecution’s inventory, according to Caracol Radio.
In fact, of the 7 tons of raw materials the police said they had destroyed, the prosecution inventory only amounts to three, the radio station reported.
What the police did accidentally destroy was four hectares of virgin forest where possible evidence could have been found about how the thousands of gallons of gasoline, acetone and other chemicals could have entered the ambassador’s property.
Who spun the “express labs” story?
But according to the prosecutor in charge of securing the custody of the arrested suspects, “this was not built, as some media say, [as an] ‘express lab.’ For me, in my opinion this is not an ‘express’ lab, this is something that has been there a while.”
Sanclemente told press that his brother, who managed the property, had rented the area where the lab was found to an 87-potato farmer who has yet to appear.
In fact, the ambassador’s brother has also not appeared in public and Sanclemente is only now considering to return to Colombia.
Who have appeared are five defense attorneys, which is quite a lot for “good Colombians” who claim to be victims.