Venezuela on Tuesday extradited infamous AUC paramilitary commander Omar Montero, alias “Codazzi,” known for his role in massive land grabs in northern Colombia.
Codazzi had been captured by Venezuelan authorities on a farm in the state of Trujillo back in July after a red alert was issued by Interpol for the paramilitary commander’s alleged involvement in various crimes.
The former mid-level commander of the AUC’s Northern Bloc had 18 capture orders in Colombia for his alleged involvement in murder, forced displacement, illegal recruitment, extortion, and conspiracy to commit crimes, according to Semana magazine.
The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry also noted that Codazzi participated in a “Operation Daktari” in 2004. According to the Venezuelan government, this was an attempt by 100 Colombian paramilitary members to overthrow the Chavez government from a farm outside of Caracas.
Colombian authorities consider Codazzi to be one of the biggest expropriators of peasant land in northern Colombian states, where he had notaries and lawyers working to process the stolen land transfers.
The AUC and its successor groups have long displaced Colombians. In some cases, plots were sold to the paramilitaries for a fraction of the price. Following a process to legalize the land, it would then be sold on.
Codazzi has already been sentenced to 39 years in prison for homicide.