Colombian authorities arrested congressmen Luis Carlos Restrepo, Valle del Cauca representative, and Valencia Duque, Antioquia representative, on Thursday for alleged links to paramilitary groups, reports El Espectador.
Following orders from Colombia’s Supreme Court, agents from the Technical Investigation Team (CTI) arrested Restrepo, a congressman since 2006 (not to be confused with Luis Carlos Restrepo, former peace commissioner) after testimony from extradited drug trafficker Hernando Gomez Bustamante, alias “Rasguno.”
Bustamante, who was arrested in 2004 and extradited to the United States on July 19, 2007 for money laundering and drug trafficking, is the former leader of the Norte del Valle Cartel, and implicated Partido de la U Congressman Restrepo for receiving campaign financing from paramilitaries.
Bustamante claimed to have received frequent visits from Restrepo, and that he supported the politician financially in his campaign for mayor in the city of Cartago between 2001 and 2003.
Valencia Duque of the Alas Equipo Colombia party, now incorporated into the Conservative Party, was arrested in Medellin after ex-paramilitary boss Ever Veloza, alias “H.H,” testified against him before the Justice and Peace tribunal.
The arrests add to the growing list of Colombian politicians who have been implicated by the testimony of demobilized paramilitaries cooperating with Colombia’s Peace and Justice program.