According to judicial sources, “Martin Sombra”, whose real name is Eli Mejia Mendoza and who was arrested in 2008 for his alleged role in the kidnapping, has finally accepted the charge of aggravated kidnapping for ransom, reported Caracol TV.
Colombian authorities formally brought the charges against Mendoza in September 2009.
Last week, a Colombian judge handed Mendoza a nine year, nine month prison sentence for his role in kidnapping the child that Clara Rojas gave birth to while she was a FARC hostage. The sentencing for Mendonza’s role in the kidnapping of the American contractors will be given by judges in the Colombian department of Meta.
Meanwhile, prosecutors continue their investigation against Mendoza for other crimes committed during his years as a FARC guerilla.
The three American security contractors, Keith Donald Stansell, Marc Goncalves and Thomas R Howes, were kidnapped by the FARC on 13 February 2003, when FARC guerillas shot down their plane which was flying over the Caqueta jungle conducting an anti-narcotics mission. After crash-landing, pilot Tommy Janis and Colombian Army sergeant Luis Alcides Cruz were murdered.
The three contractors spent over five years in FARC captivity, and were part of the group famously liberated by the Colombian military on 2 July, 2008 in “Operation Jaque” along with presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.