A paramilitary jailed for his role in the 2001 murders of two Drummond coal company unionists reveals more detail about the crime to RCN Radio.
Jairo de Jesus Charris Castro, alias “El Viejo Migue,” has been in prison since 2008. He says the killings were ordered by Jaime Blanco Maya, head of a company which provided cafeteria services at the Drummond mine in the Cesar department.
Charris told RCN that Blanco Maya ordered the murder of the two unionists because they complained to Drummond about the quality of the food, and he feared losing his $600,000-a-year contract.
Blanco Maya, brother of former Colombian Inspector General Edgardo Maya, was arrested on September 6 in connection with the murders.
Charris claimed that Blanco Maya met with former AUC leader Ospino Pacheco to order the murders of Valmore Locarno and Victor Hugo Orcasita. The two men were president and vice president, respectively, of a labor union at Drummond, and were killed on March 12, 2001.
The paramilitary said that several meetings were held to plan the murder of the two men. Charris claims those involved an ex-CIA agent, and former Drummond employee Alfredo Araujo Castro, who signed Blanco Maya’s contract with the multinational. The men decided to “put an end to the union,” according to Charris.
“They planned the date, hour, place and moment of the assassinations of the unionists in a meeting six days before the murders,” the jailed paramilitary said.
Charris claimed that Blanco Maya often met with paramilitary leaders at his finca “Las Americas.”
Several paramilitaries have been implicated in the crime, including former AUC leader Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias “Jorge 40,” who was extradited to the U.S. in May 2008, and recently disappeared from public access records. Oscar Jose Ospino Pacheco, alias “Tolemaida,” was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his part in the murders.
Locarno and Orcasita were murdered on March 12, 2001 by paramilitaries while traveling by bus from the Drummond mine to Valledupur, where they lived. Lorcarno was shot dead on the spot, while Orcasita’s body was found later with signs of torture. Locarno’s successor as president of the labor union, Gustavo Soler, was murdered seven months later.
The murders or Locarno and Orcasita have been under investigation since 2005. Repeated efforts by the families of the three man to hold Drummond responsible in United States courts have been futile.