A conservative politician in the north of Colombia was allegedly linked to a record cocaine seizure made last weekend by National Police, according to reports by El Tiempo newspaper on Sunday.
A shipping company whose manager is Engler Pinilla, a former Democratic Center Party candidate who ran in regional elections in Santa Marta in 2015 disguised the shipment of 6 metric tons of cocaine, alleges the newspaper.
Authorities mentioned the Santa Marta-based International Export World S.A.S company in their preliminary inquiries with Jose Herrera, Pinilla’s deputy manager rumored to have been involved, claimed El Tiempo.
“It is a matter that has to be clarified with the authorities,” said Pinilla who confirmed his links to the scrap exporter when contacted by the newspaper.
According to the newspapers’ claims, a container for the cocaine shipment with an estimated street value of $213 million was procured from the “Maersk” shipping giant who raised suspicions about the irregular nature of the cargo, which police confirmed was destined for Spain.
The shipment was due to be loaded onto a Panamanian flagged vessel before a stop in Manzanillo, Mexico ahead of its final destination, the port city of Algeciras in Spain.
In the coming days authorities will question Pinilla, who received a mere 69 votes in the 2015 regional elections, as well as representatives of the company to determine who could have manipulated the details of the shipment to disguise the illegal cargo.
During a press conference in Barranquilla after the seizure, Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas told press that the AGC had associated with “other organizations operating in the north and east of the country” for this shipment.
The group was founded in 2006 by dissident AUC mid-level commander “Don Mario,” who abandoned a demobilization, disarmament and reintegration process with his former group reportedly at the orders of AUC co-founder “Vicente Castaño.”
Since then, the group has taken control of drug routes along Colombia’s Caribbean and Pacific coast lines.
In the west of the country, the group has been at war with Colombia’s last-standing guerrilla group, the ELN, which is holding peace talks with the government.