Six men were arrested for fraud only hours before Colombia’s southwestern Valle del Cauca department took to the polls to redo last year’s local elections.
Among those arrested were the secretary of controversial political party MIO, a former judge and former officials of the National Electoral Council and the National Registry, the authorities in charge of the elections.
“Among those detained is a suspect who appears to have ties to former senator Juan Carlos Martinez,” who was released last week after serving time for his ties to paramilitary death squads and immediately arrested on drug trafficking charges, National Police director Jose Roberto Leon told press.
The suspects were arrested in the municipalities of Cali, Jamundi and Candelaria and were charged with trying to bribe electoral officials to alter election results.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos congratulated the local authorities for the arrests on his Twitter account.
Valle del Cauca had to redo last year’s elections after electoral authorities established that elected governor Hector Fabio Useche, a member of MIO and ally of Martinez, had won the elections through fraud.