Colombia president asks to cease arrest of narco sought by US


BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia’s president is looking for to droop arrest orders towards a number of the nation’s largest prison suspects, together with a minimum of one particular person wished within the U.S. on narcotics prices, as a part of an formidable plan to dismantle armed teams which have lengthy dominated the countryside.

The request to droop the arrest orders towards eight members of the so-called Gulf Clan was made by President Gustavo Petro’s peace commissioner in a letter dated Jan. 11 to Colombia’s chief prosecutor. Amongst these on the checklist are Jobanis Villadiego, additionally identified by his alias “Bad Boy,” who was indicted in Brooklyn federal courtroom in 2015 alongside Dairo Antonio Úsuga, then chief of the Gulf Clan and on the time Colombia’s most wished fugitive.

A replica of the letter was supplied to The Related Press by somebody near U.S. legislation enforcement on the situation of anonymity to debate delicate issues on the coronary heart of greater than 20 years of U.S.-Colombia anti-narcotics cooperation.

Colombia’s high legislation enforcement authority on Friday stated there was no authorized foundation for Petro’s request. In a seven-page rebuttal shared with the media, the chief prosecutor’s workplace stated such requests may solely be made towards members of politically motivated armed teams whereas the Gulf Clan — which emerged from the ashes of Colombia’s right-wing paramilitary motion — was a purely prison enterprise.

The Gulf Clan is accused of being Colombia’s largest drug trafficking group, chargeable for sending as a lot as 20 metric tons of cocaine every month to the U.S. and Europe.

Conservative former President Iván Duque final 12 months extradited Úsuga to the U.S., calling him the “most dangerous drug trafficker in the world” and likening him to the scary Pablo Escobar who terrorized a lot of Colombia earlier than his dying within the Nineteen Nineties.

Úsuga pleaded not responsible upon his arrival to the U.S. and is at the moment awaiting trial.

Petro has taken a unique strategy from his legislation and order predecessor. Since his historic election final 12 months, the previous leftist guerrilla has been pushing a plan for “total peace” that would come with negotiating not solely with that nation’s final foremost insurgent group, the Nationwide Liberation Military, but in addition armed gangs just like the Gulf Clan that proceed to dominate and maintain again improvement in Colombia’s lengthy uncared for countryside.

He’s additionally proposed shielding from extradition these prepared to put down their weapons and resign prison exercise, a transfer that’s sure to check a longstanding legislation enforcement alliance with Washington. Beneath Duque, Colombia extradited greater than 500 people to the U.S.

Villadiego is needed within the U.S. on a number of drug trafficking prices and in Colombia faces further prices for murder and compelled recruitment of minors to commit prison acts. Like his former boss Úsuga, he was a member of the right-wing United Self Protection Forces of Colombia who renounced violence as a part of a 2004 peace deal. However he later returned to a lifetime of crime as one in every of Úsuga’s high lieutenants within the Gulf Clan.

Goodman reported from Miami

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