A former politician will be investigated for allegedly receiving support from drug traffickers in western Colombia during his 2002 election campaign.
The Inspector General’s Office will look into whether ex-senator Juan Carlos Martinez Sinisterra received political support from drug traffickers in the western department of Valle del Cauca during his senatorial bid. He was convicted in 2011 for receiving electoral support from the AUC‘s Calima Bloc following the testimony of former paramilitary commander, Ever Veloza Garcia, alias “H.H.” The former senator was released June 26 after having served three fifths of his sentence. Martinez was arrested in 2009, and was detained for two years prior to his conviction.
“[Martinez] actually received electoral favors from members of the Calima Bloc of the AUC in his 2002 electoral campaign, which he won thanks to the support he received from known drug traffickers in the region,” H.H. said. The former paramilitary also claimed Martinez won his 2006 reelection bid because of support from drug traffickers and not the AUC, who was demobilized by that time.
Another former paramilitary leader, Armando Lugo, alias “El Cabezon,” testified in early July that Martinez attended as many as three meetings with the AUC in 2000, and allegedly took part in arranging the shipment of 500kg of cocaine.
In early 2011, authorities transferred the ex-senator to a Barranquilla institution after he had thrown a lavish birthday party for himself in Bogota’s La Picota prison.
Also, local media reported that Martinez went missing for 10 days around February, 2011. The following month, rather than facing any kind of penalty, a judge then granted Martinez the relative luxury of home detention.