According to the prosecution, it has sufficiently proven testimonies that Santiago Uribe, a.k.a. “El Patron,” formed and led a death squad dedicated to so-called “social cleansing.”
“The 12 Apostles” was led by El Patron and “made up of public and private actors with the purpose of imposing an extermination policy against common criminals” and the “annihilation” “of a significant group of people simply because they belonged to different groups of civil society described as socially undesirable,” according to the prosecutor.
Multiple of the “undesirables” were assassinated at La Carolina, Uribe’s estate in Yarumal, a municipality some 40 miles north of Antioquia.
According to the prosecution, Uribe teamed up with local restaurant owner Alvaro Vasquez and the local priest, Gonzalo Javier Palacio, in 1992 to form the 12 Apostles who — in collusion with the local police department — planned and executed 164 crimes, including homicides, from the Uribe estate.
The investigation against Uribe and the paramilitary group he allegedly led was opened in 1997 and originally dropped in 1999 due to lack of evidence, but reopened in 2012 after several new witnesses offered to collaborate with justice.
The former president’s brother was arrested in 2016, but released in 2018 because of delays in the trial. Uribe’s defense tried to further delay the case, claiming he didn’t have enough time to prepare for the final phase, but this was rejected.
The Uribe family has increasingly become infamous for its murky businesses.
Family patriarch Alberto Uribe was a rancher and alleged drug trafficker, and a good friend of Fabio Ochoa, the patriarch of the Ochoa crime family that founded the Medellin Cartel.
Jaime Uribe was so close to the now-defunct Cifuentes crime family that he had two extramarital daughters with Dolly Cifuentes, who is currently in a US prison for drug trafficking. The oldest of the three sons died in 2000.
The former president is currently on trial for allegedly manipulating witnesses who have testified that Santiago and Alvaro formed another paramilitary group, Bloque Metro, after Uribe took office as governor.
The former president’s sons, Tomas and Jeronimo, have been accused of setting up an artisan business with paramilitary chief Hernan Giraldo, tax fraud and flipping land titles while Uribe was president.
The former president has consistently claimed he comes from an honorable family and all accusations are part of a political conspiracy.
The final stage in which the prosecution will try to prove this claim is nonsense and that Santiago is a mass murderer is expected to last until Friday next week after which the judge will consider his verdict.