At the request of his sister, Marquez allowed his nephew to become one of his aides during the peace talks that took place between 2012 and 2016.
Marin is a 40-year old accountant from the southern Caqueta province, who was reportedly recruited as an assistant to Marquez on the request of his mother after a long period of unemployment and a reported history of being involved in murky businesses.
FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, a.k.a. “Timochenko,” criticized Marquez’ decision to allow his nephew near the peace process, claiming that the ‘strange and dangerous’ connection has muddied political aims and landed Santrich in prison.
After the signing of the peace process in November 2016, Marin returned to Caqueta, where he allegedly started using his connections with the FARC and government officials to gain government contracts related to the implementation of the peace process in exchange for bribes.
The Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal investigation against Marin during the first month of the peace process, and began wiretapping him. Through this, they reportedly picked up on his extensive network of corruption which involved projects from reforestation to road repairs.
It is unclear at which point the DEA got in the mix, but in August 2017, the prosecution allegedly picked up that Marin was also trying to negotiate a drug deal with Mexican drug traffickers, of whom at least one was an undercover DEA agents.
Marin agreed to deliver a sample of five “televisions” to prove he had access to cocaine.
Two months later and at the request of the alleged Mexican emissaries, wiretaps showed Marin sought contact with Santrich’s assistant to have the senior FARC leader “vouch for all businesses” at the request of the DEA agent.
On November 1, associates of Marin delivered a five-kilo sample of cocaine to the Mexicans, including the DEA agent.
The day after, Marin personally convinced the FARC leader to meet with two men, of which at least one was undercover DEA agent Brian Witek, to talk about “the projects” that, according to the FARC and Santrich, referred to agricultural projects for reintegrating FARC commanders.
The DEA released a video of a meeting showing Marin, Santrich and two unidentifiable men of which it is not certain if this was of the November 2 meeting. Another meeting allegedly took place in February 2018.
Marquez’ nephew was arrested on April 9, 2018, the same day as Santrich who had been warned by an unknown police official that the prosecution intended to arrest him.
US authorities confirmed in August that Marin had become a state witness after agreeing to cooperate with the prosecution and the DEA. Days later he flew to the US voluntarily and disappeared from the radar.
Marquez’ nephew reappeared last week, dressed in a prison outfit, in an image provided by US authorities that vowed to send over his testimony as evidence Santrich was involved in the alleged drug trafficking deal.
Two days before that, Colombia’s war crimes tribunal ordered the release of Santrich, claiming it had received no evidence proving whether or when a crime would have been committed. Instead, the court ordered investigations into the prosecution and the DEA over possible misconduct.
Marin would also have talked to Colombian prosecutors.