Early Tuesday morning, officials initiated the process of moving 127 male prisoners who inhabited the 7th ward of Combita prison in Boyaca to a high-security ward of La Picota prison in the capital. All of the men transferred are prisoners who, based on the gravity of their crimes, could merit extradition.
The report also said that, “This decision will permit the reduction of operational costs that INPEC will have to incur, each time that one of these prisoners is required by the competent authorities.”
Among the prisoners being moved are Ramon Quintero Sanclemente, alias “RQ,” and Alexander Farfan Perez, alias “Gafas,” two of the men responsible for the kidnapping of the three U.S. citizens rescued in “Operation Jaque,” the same operation that saw the liberation of Ingrid Betancourt.
Ten female prisoners of the same status currently residing in Combita will be moved to El Buen Pastor prison.
Combita prison, in turn, will become a destination for members of the emerging neo-paramilitary criminal gangs referred to by the government as BACRIM.
According to newspaper El Espectador, Vargas Lleras also confirmed that a number of “parapoliticians” incarcelated in La Picota will be moved to Acacias prison in Meta. These include former senator Mario Uribe Escobar and the former director of Antioquia prosecutors Guillermo León Valencia Cossio.
La Picota prison was formerly known for allowing political prisoners to host parties. However, the prison director responsible for allowing this was replaced in February.
The large influx of prisoners will serve as a serious test of the prison’s current security capacities.