U.S. Accuses Colombian in Drug Bribes

The New York Times on June 18, 2012 released the following:

“By WILLIAM NEUMAN

CARACAS, Venezuela — Mauricio Santoyo led an elite antiterrorism squad in Colombia’s National Police force and then became chief of presidential security when Álvaro Uribe took office as the country’s tough-on-crime president. Once there, he worked closely with United States officials to beef up Mr. Uribe’s safety arrangements.

Now federal prosecutors in the United States say that at the same time, Mr. Santoyo was in the pocket of drug dealers, taking at least $5 million in bribes from major narcotics traffickers from about 2000 to 2008 to help them evade law enforcement.

He even handed over intelligence information collected by law enforcement officials that led the traffickers to target people for murder, according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday in United States District Court in Virginia.

The document does not give details, but it appears that the murders may have been in retaliation for cooperating with authorities.

Mr. Santoyo, who was eventually promoted to the rank of general in the National Police, is now retired.

The Web site of the Bogotá newspaper El Tiempo reported Monday that Mr. Santoyo said he had not seen the indictment and could not comment on the charges.

A spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia said that Mr. Santoyo was not currently in custody. He would not say whether officials had asked Colombia to arrest and extradite Mr. Santoyo.

The indictment was an embarrassment to Mr. Uribe, who has remained a high-profile figure since leaving office in 2010. He has been highly critical of his successor, Juan Manuel Santos, including his approach to the war on drugs.

On Sunday, Mr. Uribe called, in a Twitter post, for Mr. Santoyo and the National Police to respond to the charges.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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