A former Colombian drug trafficker and paramilitary financier declared that former Colombia President Alvaro Uribe extradited him to the US to shut him up about disclosing information about high-ranking officials with paramilitary ties, according to an interview with W Radio.
In an exclusive interview with Colombia’s W Radio, Juan Carlos Sierra, alias “El Tuso,” said that he was double-crossed by Uribe and was extradited by his administration in order to silence Sierra from speaking-out about the regime’s alleged paramilitary ties.
“I was extradited to not tell the truth,” said Sierra, and since then his case has been politicized.
In the interview, Sierra declared that several companies, businessmen, politicians, and military officials were intimately involved and supportive of the paramilitaries.
Sierra was clearly apprehensive and refused to name specific companies and businessmen because of “limits to what he could say,” but he did mention, “We met many people from the Armed Forces, with whom we were in contact and received help in exchange for money.”
The interviewer pressed El Tuso for more names to which he responded, “The names are already known.”
Names of those in the Armed Forces mentioned by El Tuso as having supported paramilitaries:
- General Mario Montoya – general who resigned for involvement in false positives during Uribe’s Administration
- General Luis Alberto Moore – police general during Uribe’s administration
- General Mauricio Santoyo – Uribe’s chief of security, confessed to helping paramilitaries
- General Luis Roberto Pico – former commander of Medellin‘s 4th brigade during Uribe’s administration, investigated for paramilitary involvement
Politicians supported by El Tuso:
- Mario Uribe – former President Uribe’s cousin and political ally. El Tuso “grew up in the same town” and contributed financially to his political campaign
- Santiago Uribe – former President Uribe’s brother
- Oscar Arboleda – congressman condemned for parapolitics
- Luis Alfredo Ramos – senator condemned for parapolitics
- Jorge Leon Sanchez – investigated for paramilitary connections
- Oscar Suarez Miro – senator arrested for parapolitics
- Luis Carlos Restrepo – peace commissioner during peace talks with the paramilitaries
El Tuso was a drug trafficker and financier of paramilitary groups such as Bloque Cacique Nutibara under the command of Diego Fernando Murillo Bejarano alias “Don Berna.” Sierra was the man in charge of the group’s narco-trafficking activities.
The paramilitary groups demobilized in 2003 under the Justice and Peace Law which demobilized while El Tuso turned himself in to the authorities in 2006.
Sierra served almost eight years in both Colombian and American prisons, which many consider too short for a narco-trafficker with links to paramilitaries.
The former paramilitary financier was released in April 2013 from a prison in Virginia and has been granted a work visa by US immigration, according to El Tiempo newspaper.
Sierra said he had 11 meetings with officials from the Prosecutor General’s Office from 2010 to 2012, and since then had been completely ignored despite sending appeals and requests. Sierra said in the interview that he “finds it odd that the state asked for his appearance during an electoral season after being ignored for so long.”
At the end of the interview when asked about coming back to Colombia and testifying, Sierra began to get emotional and said that he did not agree with the extradition request because “everything being said are lies.”
“I never ran away from Colombia or refused to cooperate with investigators,” said El Tuso, adding, “I asked for protection from the Colombian Supreme Court, from the Prosecutor General, the renewal of my passport and I never got a response, so I took the decision to apply for a work visa in the US.”
Colombia has reportedly been in negotiations with the United States for Sierra’s extradition, according to El Tiempo.
Uribe has publicly endorsed the candidacy of presidential hopeful Oscar Ivan Zuluaga for the upcoming election on Sunday while the opposition is keen to divulge any information that could link Uribe with paramilitaries — thus using it as political ammunition against Zuluaga.