Hugo Albeiro Quintero, alias “El Patron de Bello,” who was one of the Medellin underworld’s most powerful figures before his arrest in 2008, could be released after the time limit on legal proceedings against him expired two months ago, reports El Tiempo.
Quintero was arrested by police in September 2008 after a spectacular raid on his bunker-style hideout, which included a security room built six meters underground and an arsenal of small arms.
El Patron de Bello, who owned the transport company Bellanita de Transportes, was charged with conspiracy, illegal possession of weapons and murder, but will now be free to go as the terms of his trial defined by the statute of limitations have expired.
Two key witnesses in the trial were murdered and a third is currently missing, while investigators have received threats and the prosecutor in charge has been dismissed four times.
Quintero is widely thought to have close ties to former AUC paramilitaries, including associates of the Castaño brothers, and is accused of harboring former paramilitary leader Vicente Castaño Quintero when he decided to break the peace negotiations with the Colombian government in August 2006.