Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos called on retired General Mauricio Santoyo, who served as former President Alvaro Uribe’s security chief until 2006, to account for charges filed by U.S. authorities accusing him of trafficking drugs.
“It is very important that General Santoyo come out and respond to the U.S. justice [authorities] for his actions,” Santos said from Mexico, where he is attending the G20 political summit. “The important thing is for him to go and answer [to the charges] for the good of the institution and the good of the country,” he added.
A Virginia court charged Santoyo after the testimony of extradited paramilitary leaders Salvatore Mancuso and Carlos Mario Jimenez, alias “Macaco.” He was linked to the now-defunct paramilitary group, the AUC and Medellin-based crime syndicate Oficina de Envigado with allegations that he received money from both organizations to leak classified intelligence and reveal information about rival drug lords received through illegal wiretaps.
He is also suspected of having approved more than 1,800 illegal wiretaps as the head of Gaula’s Medellin office, a position he held from 1996 to 2001. Gaula is a special military unit dedicated to kidnapping prevention and rescue.
The former army officer responded to the charges Monday, prior to Santos’ statements, saying that he is willing to cooperate with authorities. “I served Colombia for more than 30 years as an officer in the National Police and I have the peace of mind to answer any questions about my actions,” he said.