Colombia’s former consul in Spain on Friday gave further evidence for allegations that Mario Uribe, former senator and cousin of former president Alvaro Uribe, had ties to extradited drug trafficker and AUC member Juan Carlos Sierra, alias “El Tuso.”
According to Ignacio Guzman, “El Tuso” accompanied Victor Horacio Uribe, brother of the now-jailed politician, on a trip to Spain.
In an interview with W Radio, the former consul said Uribe asked the diplomat to pick up his brother from the airport. Guzman told the radio station he was surprised to see Uribe’s brother had “quite an ugly” travel partner.
According to Guzman, he was unaware of the identity of “El Tuso” and allowed the drug trafficker to use his car. This car – with diplomatic license plates – was used by “El Tuso” to visit potential Spanish buyers of Colombian cocaine.
The drug trafficker himself said Uribe’s brother was carrying a diplomatic passport, which prevented problems at Spanish customs. “We were protected. Why would anyone give us trouble? What more [do you need] than a diplomatic passport?” he was quoted as saying by newspaper El Espectador.
In testimonies made from his U.S. prison, “El Tuso” said that his purpose of the undated 20-day trip was to make contacts for exporting Colombian cocaine to Spain.
“El Tuso,” a member of the “Office of Envigado” criminal gang, headed by now-extradited paramilitary warlord Diego Murillo, alias “Don Berna,” said he did not just have relations with Uribe, but “worked together with forensics, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the army, the DAS and the police.”
The drug trafficker confirmed accusations made by his superior Don Berna that Mario Montoya, former commander of the Colombian army and current ambassador to the Dominican Republic, had close ties to the Office of Envigado.
The Colombian government extradited Sierra and Murillo to the U.S. in May 2008 without approval of the Supreme Court. The extradition led to criticism by paramilitary victims groups that the government was attempting to halt revelations by paramilitary leaders that incriminated politicians.