A former chief of security of former President Alvaro Uribe publicly denies having ties to a senior Colombian drug trafficker.
Police General Flavio Buitrago, who was called to explain an audio recording of himself with former Pablo Escobar ally Marco Antonio Gil, a.k.a. “El Papero,” said accusations implying he was corrupt were aimed at “tarnishing his name,” the police general said in a press release sent out to Colombian media.
In the public statement, the former top presidential aide said he knows El Papero because — as commander of the Bogota branch of the Police’s anti kidnapping unit Gaula — Buitrago was involved in helping with the release of the daughter of the senior criminal in 1998.
“I want to clarify that my relationship with mister Gil stems from the professional field and is part of my duty as policeman and commander of the Bogota Gaula due to the kidnapping of his daughter, Andrea Gil, on August 21 1997, and her subsequent rescue … in May 1998,” said the active General.
The 54-year-old police official was ordered to report to National Police Director General Jose Roberto Leon to clarify his relationship with one of Colombia’s first drug traffickers who was arrested in the capital last week.
Buitrago succeeded retired General Mauricio Santoyo as Uribe’s security chief. Santoyo late last year admitted to having leaked confidential information to the “Oficina de Envigado,” a Medellin-based drug trafficking organization founded by Escobar and later commanded by “Don Berna,” one of the most prominent members of paramilitary organization AUC.
Dozens of lawmakers and top officials of the two Uribe administrations have been convicted since the breaking of the “parapolitics” scandal that exposed extensive ties between the AUC and the army, now-defunct intelligence agency DAS, the police, prosecution offices, Congress and the President’s Office.
Among those convicted for their ties to paramilitary groups are the former president’s cousin Mario Uribe, former DAS director Jorge Noguera, the brother of Uribe’s then-Interior and Justice Minister, and the brother of the former Foreign Minister. Under investigation are Uribe himself, his brother, and several former top Presidency officials.
FACT SHEET: Parapolitics