Colombia’s authorities arrested former paramilitary commander “Macaco” on Saturday after he was extradited by the US after serving 11 years for drug trafficking.
Macaco, whose real name is Carlos Mario Jimenez, is the founder of paramilitary group “Los Caparrapos” and, until his demobilization in 2006, one of the leading commander of paramilitary organization AUC.
The former paramilitary commander was arrested on conspiracy and dozens of homicide charges.
Macaco became the first former AUC commander to be extradited to the US in 2008 despite protests by victim organizations.
The victims wanted the former commander of the Bloque Central Bolivat (BCB) to continue testifying about the approximately 5,000 victims made by the BCB during its decade-long participation in the armed conflict.
The government of former President Alvaro Uribe, however, claimed Macaco and a dozen other extradited leaders continued to carry out criminal activity from prison.
Ironically, Macaco’s cooperation with US authorities revealed that two of Uribe’s former presidential security chiefs were working together with drug traffickers after which they too were extradited and sentenced to prison in the US.
The former paramilitary chief subsequently was allowed to serve only 11 of his 33-year prison sentence.
But because the former AUC chief stopped cooperating with Colombia’s transitional justice system that was set up to investigate crimes committed by the paramilitaries, Macaco was expelled from the so-called Justice and Peace program in 2014 and stripped from his judicial benefits.
The prosecution announced he will now be tried for the crimes committed while he took part in the war before an ordinary court.
The extradition of Macaco and the other paramilitary chiefs devastated investigations into crimes committed by the paramilitaries and their allies in the private sector, the security forces and politics.
His return to Colombia is likely to revive fears among the BCB’s former associates in the private sector and politics, particularly Uribe, who allegedly tried to involve Macaco in a 2008 plot to discredit the Supreme Court while it was investigating the president’s cousin and other political allies of President Ivan Duque‘s political patron.