The former Governor of the western Colombian state of Choco was arrested Friday on suspected ties to paramilitary groups active in the region, one of Colombia’s poorest and most conflict-stricken, local media reported.
Julio Ibarguen Mosquera was taken into custody in the western Colombian city of Cali after a decision by the Attorney General’s Office in charge of the case to carry out the “preventive detention” and ensure that the ex-governor did not flee, El Espectador newspaper reported.
The Attorney General’s Office suspects that, as both a candidate and governor, Ibarguen maintained links with the Elmer Cardena Block of the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a paramilitary umbrella active from 1997 to 2006 responsible for extensive human rights violations throughout the region.
Ibarguen is alleged to have taken part in the “Singapore Agreement” in which AUC commander Freddy Rendon Herrera, alias “El Aleman,” financially supported politicians in the state of Choco with the intention of “advancing a political and military project in order to maintain control of drug trafficking operations,” Caracol Radio reported.
In 2011, three former congressman were sentenced to nine years in jail after being linked to the same case.
The former governor, who was under house arrest at the time of his arrest, was processed by the Technical Investigation Body (CTI) and transferred to an undisclosed location as a precautionary measure.
- A la cárcel exgobernador del Choco procesado por vinculos con paramilitares (El Espectador)
- Capturan al exgobernador de Choco (Caracol Radio)