Colombia captures ex-FARC head on drug trafficking charges

Lucy Bush
April 12, 2018

One of the top leaders of Colombia's former rebel group, FARC, has been arrested in Bogota following a request from the United States.

A day after the arrest of Seuxis Hernandez, best known by his alias Jesus Santrich, conservative opponents of the peace accord, including the front-running presidential candidate, urged authorities to investigate other members of the disbanded FARC rebel army for any continued involvement in the drug trade.

The Prosecutor's Office said in a Monday statement that Santrich was in possession of 10 tons of cocaine worth $15 million that was going to be sent to the U.S. Because the arrest was done via an worldwide warrant from Interpol, prosecutors said Santrich could be extradited to North America.

"The accord is clear: he who commits the crime after the signing of the final deal will be subjected to normal jurisdiction for these any committed crimes", Santos added.

As part of the deal, the FARC were given 10 seats in Congress until 2026, regardless of how many votes they receive in elections. "It's a very bad message for the Colombian people, for the former combatants and for the peace that our country so badly needs".

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After the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia disarmed past year, the group announced the formation of a political party.

During the meeting and subsequent negotiations, he and his co-conspirators allegedly discussed plans for a ten-ton drug shipment to the USA, boasting they had access to cocaine laboratories and US -registered planes to produce and transport the drugs inside Colombia, the world's largest producer of the illegal narcotic.

"My hand won't tremble to authorize the extradition", Santos said in a nationally televised address in which he tried to reassure demobilized fighters that they have nothing to fear as long as they uphold their commitments under the peace accord.

Santrich was a member of the FARC's central high command, the members of which were indicted on drug trafficking charges by the 2006.

The arrest stems under a week before President Donald Trump is set to go to Bogota for discussions with Santos by which USA claims that Colombia's long standing support for the drug war flagged during peace talks is expected to feature prominently.

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The Colombian government signed a peace agreement with the FARC on November 2016.

However, they could still be arrested for any crimes they committed after the deal.

Even the FARC extended financed their insurgency by leveling a "war tax" on cocaine proceeding through land the rebels dominated.

The FARC's ties to Colombia's flourishing drug underworld have always been a sore spot for the rebels.

Fifty members of its leadership structure - though not Santrich - were indicted in 2006 in the US on charges of running the world's largest drug cartel.

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