A former FARC leader captured in Venezuela earlier this week had $2.15 million in stolen money from the FARC on him, reported newspaper El Tiempo Friday.
Gildardo Garcia Cardona, alias “Alirio Rojas,” was captured in a joint operation between Colombian and Venezuelan authorities in a “modest but comfortable house” in the neighborhood of San Luis, Merida, according to Venezuela’s National Anti-Drug Office (ONA).
Colombia’s judicial police director had already said Garcia fled Colombia after running off with money that the FARC had hidden in a cove, but did not mention how much the former guerrilla had stolen.
General Carlos Ramiro Mena commented, “According to investigations and intelligence work, this subject was fleeing from the FARC because he had allegedly absconded with a large sum of money that was destined to be invested in drug trafficking activities…”
According to authorities, Alirio Rojas was the chief financial officer of the FARC’s 7th Front and received almost $1.88 million each month from trafficking coca.
In 2008, the DAS seized 18 farms and three businesses valued at $26.85 million from the 7th Front, and it became clear that Alirio Rojas had bought the property with the FARC’s money, but without the consent of their secretariat.
The scandal earned Alirio Rojas a trial among the guerrillas, of which he came out on top because of his contacts in the mafia.
The DAS search of the properties had discovered computers with emails between Alirio Rojas and other FARC leaders over the buying and selling of weapons.
In one of the computers, the late commander of the FARC’s Eastern Bloc “Mono Jojoy” had written in November, 2009 about the upcoming flight of Garcia, “Alirio Rojas, on the staff of the 7th Front, getting luggage ready. We don’t have clarity if he is with the mafia or the enemy, [we are] making it clear that they are both our adversaries; we ordered Gentil [head of the front] to take action.”
A month later on December 8, after Alirio Rojas’ departure, Mono Jojoy reported to the FARC secretariat, “It was not possible to stop the defection of Alirio Rojas… It was like five days ago. We do not know how much money has been stolen.”
Police were able to establish that Alirio Rojas deserted the FARC with the help of drug boss Daniel “El Loco” Barrera, who has reportedly had ties with the mafia, and fled to Magdalena Medio in the department of Antioquia, but he didn’t like to be surrounded by his newfound security, nor to be “escorted to go to the bathroom.”
Three months later Alirio Rojas packed his bags again, died his hair and mustache black, and took a bus to Venezuela where he remained until his capture Tuesday.