The drug trafficking charges against the former security chief of Colombia’s ex-president Alvaro Uribe are the “tip of the iceberg” of a major corruption scandal involving dozens of Colombian state agents, Caracol TV reported Friday based on “security sources from the U.S.”
Apart from retired General Mauricio Santoyo, more than 50 officials of Colombia’s National Police, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the now-dismantled intelligence agency DAS were working together with illegal armed groups to frustrate counter-narcotic operations of Colombian, American and British authorities, Caracol said.
According to the television network, U.S. prosecutors will provide evidence that Santoyo was part of “a complex network” of state agents working “at the highest level” “in support of the mafia.”
The case against Santoyo is based on accusations of extradited AUC leader Salvatore Mancuso and extradited drug trafficker “El Tuso,” whose testimonies were also key in the Colombian conviction of Mario Uribe, the cousin of the former President.
The evidence reportedly will be revealed on September 11 when the retired police general’s first trial date is scheduled.
Santoyo is the highest-ranked Colombian official ever to be extradited to the U.S. to face drug trafficking charges since Colombian and U.S. judicial authorities began investigating ties between government officials, members of the security forces and politicians, and the paramilitary AUC.
Colombian courts have convicted hundreds of state agents and politicians for their ties to the paramilitary group, implicated in the death of tens of thousands of Colombians.