A former member of Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel and key witness in a drug trafficking case against former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega has been murdered in Colombia’s capital Bogota, reported local media.
Gabriel Taboada Garcia, 58, was assassinated in northern Bogota on a busy street at 9:30AM on Thursday.
Media quoted eye witnesses as saying that a woman fell from a motorcycle at a red light and proceeded to fire seven shots at Taboada who was in a car at the time.
The authorities investigating the case told reporters they know the motorcycle’s number plates.
Taboada was arrested in Switzerland in 1989, and subsequently extradited to the US for his involvement in drug trafficking.
Although Taboada was initially sentenced to 21 years in prison for drug trafficking his sentence was dramatically reduced because of his testimony against Noriega in 1991. At the time, Taboada was the only witness to claim that he had seen Noriega fraternizing with the big bosses of the cartel in 1983.
Taboada was the US Justice Department’s star witness and as a consequence of his testimony, the US and France sentenced Noriega for 21 years. The former dictator was in power from 1983 – 1989 and returned back to Panama in 2012 after serving his sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering. However, he now faces several murder convictions and violations of human rights charges.
Many other of the former drug lord’s sensational claims have been discredited. In 1994, Taboada claimed that the Colombian government was heavily impregnated with drug trafficking which was refuted by the government of then-President Cesar Gaviria. He also attempted to implicate a DEA agent, William Michael Aldridge, in drug deals but his allegations were found false.