Colombia’s Prosecutor General Guillermo Mendoza Diago revealed Thursday that three alleged drug traffickers, detained during a police crackdown on the criminal empire of druglord Daniel Barrera Barrera, alias “El Loco,” received support from the government’s AIS agricultural subsidies program.
Mendoza Diago would not release the names of those involved but said that further information would follow.
“Effectively there are three detainees listed as recipients of Agro Security Income grants,” he said and added that this information “opens up a whole new line of research” on the individuals.
The agricultural subsidies program has been mired in controversy. Andres Felipe Arias, the former agricultural minister who presided over the scheme, has been accused of misdirecting subsidies meant for poor farmers to wealthy families and companies, in exchange for contributions to his electoral campaign.
Authorities announced on Wednesday that they are running a full-scale operation between National Anti-Narcotics Unit and Marine Interdiction (UNAIN) and Bogota judicial Police to arrest key members involved in the narcotics-trafficking organization of Daniel Barrera Barrera, alias “El Loco.” Sixteen have so far been successfully arrested, including members of Barrera’s family.
Among these are Barrera’s mother, Ana Silva Barrera, his brother Arnoldo Barrera who suffers from Down’s syndrome, as well as cousins and his business partner Carlos Alberto Rincon Diaz, alias “El Chincharron” and his mother Fanny Diaz Rincon.
Mendoza Diago said that due to the complex nature of white collar crime, justice cannot be served overnight. However, he said detectives are working hard to bring charges against those involved in the scandal.
The offensive, coordinated in Bogota, is taking place across five departments, among them Cundinamarca, Valle, Meta, Antioquia and Casanare and has led to the expropriation of a number of luxury apartments, vehicles and farms with a combined value over $32 million.