The prime suspect in an alleged drug deal supposedly involving a leader of the now-demobilized FARC guerrillas arrived in the United States and now looks set to become state witness.
A New York court had requested the extradition of Marlon Marin, on charges of drug trafficking and his collaboration with justice is likely to have a major impact on the fortunes of FARC leader “Jesus Santrich” who is also caught up in the case.
US authorities confirmed that Marin was not the DEA infiltrator that recorded images of an alleged meeting with the Mexican cartel.
“Marlon Marin Marin is not the infiltrator in the drug trafficking operation against former guerrilla leader Jesus Santrich, but now he is collaborating with US authorities in this process,” said federal agents to El Tiempo newspaper.
Marin, 39, is the nephew of one of the FARC’s chiefs and in trouble in both Colombia and the US for allegedly trying to sell 10 tons of cocaine to Mexican drug traffickers.
The attorney is also accused of having tried to embezzle funds from the guerrilla group’s peace process.
It is unclear whether Marin will be able to respond to the accusations made in Colombia when US justice is done with the drug charge.
The arrest of Santrich sent shock waves around Colombia as the FARC said to have abandoned the criminal activity that funded their rebellion for decades.
Santrich was due to take a seat in Colombia’s congress in May to mark the beginning of the FARC’s participation in parliamentary politics. A transitional justice system is investigating war crimes.
As part of a 2016 peace deal, the FARC would be shielded from extradition to the US.
Santrich allegedly violated the terms of the peace deal by involving himself in a drug deal with Marin, who will be expected to expose alleged co-conspirators.
Colombia’s Prosecutor General released audio and images last week that would prove the FARC ideologue’s involvement in the alleged plot. Evidence obtained by the DEA has not been released.
The former ideologue has denied involvement in drug trafficking and is on hunger strike. Santrich said he would die of starvation before being extradited to the US.
In an interview with W Radio, Santrich said that his meetings with Marin was related to the peace process.
“He had been presenting ideas of productive projects, specifically on economic farms in areas where the rural reform agreements would be implemented, said Santrich.
“It was a working relationship. I trusted Marlon Marin’s agro-productive projects,” he added.
War crimes tribunal JEP is currently studying the prosecution’s evidence and could block the extradition.