Former President Alvaro Uribe‘s former security chief is only one of four retired Colombian police generals who are investigated by U.S. authorities for collaborating with paramilitary groups, newspaper El Tiempo reported Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, U.S. prosecutors hope that former police general Mauricio Santoyo’s collaboration with U.S. justice will lead to progress in the investigations against three other retired generals, all from Antioquia, the home department of both Santoyo and Uribe.
El Tiempo reported that the three former officials have all been implicated in collaborating with the paramilitary AUC by former commanders who have been extradited over the past few years.
The U.S. flew the retired general’s family from Colombia to protect them from possible retaliations before announcing Santoyo plead guilty to aiding terrorism.
El Tiempo claimed to possess the names of the incriminated former officials, but refrained from publishing them in order to not interfere with the ongoing investigation.
Santoyo pleads guilty to charges of aiding terrorist groups on Monday and, in exchange for leniency in sentencing, committed to helping U.S. authorities in further investigating the ties between government officials and drug trafficking organizations.
Television network Caracol reported last month that the case against Santoyo was only the “tip of the iceberg” and that the U.S. is investigating dozens of former Colombian officials for their ties to the AUC, which controlled most of Colombia’s drug trade until its demobilization in 2006 and has been on the U.S. terrorist groups list since 2001.
Colombia’s public prosecutor has asked the U.S. to share future testimonies by Santoyo to also domestically prosecute the former official and other allegedly corrupt officials.
Colombian and U.S. experts have said the Santoyo case will have a “profound impact” on Colombia’s armed forces and politics, who over the past few years have been overshadowed by ongoing revelations of ties between hundreds of politicians and security officials with the AUC, but never saw a government official be tried by U.S. justice.