The United States government denied reports that the leader of the Rastrojos drug trafficking organization had turned himself over to U.S. authorities, according to Colombian Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra, reported local media Tuesday.
The announcement came after local and international news agencies announced last week that Javier Calle Serna, alias “Comba,” had turned himself over to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration after lengthy negotiations with U.S. agencies– information that later proved to be false.
“There has not been a surrender of Mr. Comba or of any representative or ambassador from this organization, nor has there been any offer of negotiation or anything of the sort,” reported Colombian Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra after a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
“Officials from the U.S. Department of Justice are equally uninformed as we are in the Republic of Colombia, the information that exists about this case is simply speculation and nothing more,” he added.
Esguerra also said that concerns over “lax” punishment for extradited Colombian drug traffickers had been resolved after his meeting with Holder.
The Justice Minister affirmed that the U.S. is equally as severe as Colombia in its sentencing of drug traffickers, but that some cases are exceptions, like that of Phanor Arizabaleta, a former top commander of the Cali cartel who arrived back in Colombia after serving just eight months in the U.S. for drug trafficking.
“It’s part of the criminal system that in exchange for reduced sentences, information about more important cases is given, this is how the North American system has always functioned,” said Esguerra.
“We are exactly the same, we are equally demanding […] in severity in the fight against narcotrafficking,” declared Holder.
Over the past ten years, Colombia has extradited hundreds of citizens to the United States to face drug trafficking charges.