U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield said Friday he respects recent acquital of former Admiral Gabriel Arango Bacci for alleged links to drug trafficking, but someone must answer for selling vital naval navigational charts to criminal gangs.
Brownfield said he will continue working to ensure those responsible for selling the information to the traffickers, which among other things regarded position of navy ships along their trafficking runs, Colombian media reported.
“There is much evidence of movement of illicit drugs from Colombia to the United States,” Brownfield said, during a visit to the Nelson Mandela Barrio in Cartagena to dedicate the opening of a youth center.
“The Court decided that the evidence does not link the case to the distinguished admiral, but I accept it as representative of the people of the United States, that there is still work to be done to resolve this case because someone is responsible, ” Brownfield said.
Bacci was found innocent Thursday of ties to paramilitary and drug traffickers, due to a lack of evidence.
The Court ordered the Prosecutor General to investigate the alleged false testimony supplied by witnesses in the case. Former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos and current Navy Commander Guillermo Barrera are among the witnesses that will be investigated.
Brownfield was criticized in November for “undue interference” in the case, after he announced that there was clear evidence that linked the retired Admiral to drug traffickers.
On Friday Brownfield reiterated that, “Someone is responsible for having provided the charts to several criminal organizations, someone is responsible for having notified trafficking organizations o ship movements of the United States, France, the UK and Holland. Someone is responsible for supporting the movement of illicit drugs in the Caribbean waters off Colombia to the United States. We must continue working to resolve it.”
The Colombian government had no immediate response Friday to Brownfield’s latest comments.
Interior and Justice Minister Fabio Valencia Cossio said the government respects the court’s decision, but was silent as to whether Bacci would be reinstated to the Navy. He also made no comment on the decision by the court to investigate Santos and Barrera in relation to the scandal.