A woman extradited from Colombia was arraigned before a U.S. court Monday on terrorism
charges for allegedly supporting leftist rebels in her native country.
Luz Mery Gutierrez Vergara, 32, pleaded not guilty to providing
support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. She
faces 15 years in prison if convicted.
An indictment against her
and 10 other Colombians filed in September 2007 accuses Gutierrez
Vergara of running a FARC radio call center in Villavicencio, Colombia,
where money and messages were exchanged. The indictment says Gutierrez
Vergara helped arrange FARC’s purchase of weapons and ammunition,
including 7.62 caliber rifles.
The FARC has been designated by
the United States as a foreign terrorist organization since 1997. The
rebels held three American defense contractors hostage for more than
five years after their surveillance plane crash landed in the jungle in
Gutierrez Vergara was arrested by Colombian military and
law enforcement officials in February 2008. Six months later, the
United States filed an extradition request that was granted. She was
sent to Washington Thursday to face the charges.
Only one other
defendant charged in this indictment, Ana Isabel Pena Arevalo, has been
successfully extradited from Colombia to the United States so far. She
was arraigned last month.