After being captured by public forces Monday, retired general Flavio Buitrago denied his alleged link to convicted drug-trafficker Marco Antonio Gil Garzon, aka ‘El Papero’.
Buitrago, an ex-security chief under former president Alvaro Uribe, was arrested on suspicion of cooperating with drug operations in Bogota, after some $300,000 was found unaccounted for in his personal bank accounts.
Monday, Buitrago reiterated a public defense he had made previously this year, when talk of his connection to illegal activity first began to circulate: that his relationship with Gil was strictly professional, as he had, during his time as acting police chief, assisted in the recovery of Gil’s daughter after a kidnapping.
“I knew ‘El Papero’ from my work. From rescuing his daughter,” said Buitrago, who also downplayed the significance of the arrest, saying the public prosecutor’s office is simply “in the process of an investigation”.
Public forces captured Buitrago after he attempted to renew his United States visa, concerned that the former general and security chief would attempt to flee prosecution.
Officials announced Monday that, in addition to the mystery money, they have tape recordings of damning conversations between Buitango and Gil, which they have shared with representatives in the US embassy.
Should Buitrago be convicted of drug trafficking, he will be the second of Uribe’s top security officials to be sent to prison, after ex-general Mauricio Santoyo was convicted of links to paramilitary organizations.
General Buitango niega vinculo con narcos (Vanguardia)