Former paramilitary leader and drug trafficker “Don Mario” testified on Tuesday that he gave over $250,000 to the ex-commander of the Colombian army, General Mario Montoya, reported Colombian media.
Testifying before prosecutor Elba Beatriz Silva, the ex-paramilitary said that he had been ordered to deliver the money to Montoya by the leader of the AUC‘s Centauros bloc, Miguel Arroyave.
Don Mario explained that the money was intended to be used to combat a different bloc of the paramilitary, which was based in Casanare and lead by Martin Llanos.
This is the third time Montoya’s name has been mentioned in the investigation of crimes committed by Colombia’s paramilitaries, with the first implicating him in the San Apartado massacre of 1997 and the second accusing him of dealings with demobilized paramilitary leader Libardo Duarte, alias “Ban Ban.”
Don Mario was captured along with eighteen members of his security ring in a rural area of the central Colombian department of Antioquia in April 2009, and is currently negotiating the terms of his extradition to the United States in return for the names of 6,000 paramilitaries.
Montoya was named ambassador to the Dominican Republic following a scandal involving the extrajudicial execution of hundreds of citizens by members of the army.