Authorities in Colombia are investigating possible ties between drug traffickers and a regional elite after a car with congressional license plates was found in the home of an alleged money launderer.
The car was found at the home of Diego Alberto Vidal, who was arrested early this month for allegedly moving large sums of money for drug traffickers through international couriers.
Eight alleged couriers, including Vidal’s mother, were also arrested on charges the organization had trafficked $24 million in drug profits.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, US immigration agency ICE and the Colombian prosecuters suspect Vidal of ties to Congress’ former assets manager who was suspended after her son was found with $200,000 in cash in a Congressman’s car.
The Vidal family — of which three people were arrested — has several businesses in Huila, including an ambulance service.
Now that authorities have found a second car with congressional license plates ties to allegedly the same operations, they fear more government vehicles could be used in Vidal’s money laundering racket.
Surprisingly, Vidal and his family members were not sent to jail after their arrest after a confusing first day in court.
The judge and the defense said that the prosecution failed to prove the underlying crime. They did not specify whom the money would be laundered for. First they said the FARC, then Chinese smugglers and later the mafia. That’s why they weren’t sent to jail.
Anonymous investigator via El Tiempo
According to El Tiempo, ICE is confident that the money laundering network did business with the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC, a.k.a. “Gulf Clan, and narcos from Medellin and Cali.