Colombia's ex-police chief surrenders to US over drug charges

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A man strains liquid cocaine base into a bucket June 27, 2002 in the village of La Playa, Colombia.

Credit:

Carlos Villalon

Retired Colombian police General Mauricio Santoyo, who is charged with drugs offenses in the United States, has turned himself in.

Santoyo is accused of helping drug gangs and right-leaning paramilitaries smuggle cocaine into Mexico and the US, according to BBC News. The crimes were allegedly committed while he served as the head of security for former-President Alvaro Uribe from 2002 to 2005. Santoyo turned himself in to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Bogotá.

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The retired general was indicted in May in eastern Virginia with conspiracy to export cocaine, reported the Associated Press. The indictment also alleges that Santoyo betrayed international counter-narcotics operations from 2002 to 2008 and conducted unauthorized wiretaps for drug traffickers. He is also accused of signaling the whereabouts of murder targets for them and had allegedly received at least $5 million in return.

Santoyo is "voluntarily coming to the United States to face these charges," said his attorney, John Zwerling, according to CNN. "I think it speaks well."

His client has denied the charges and is expected to plead not guilty when he appears before a US judge, reported CNN. It is not yet known if prosecutors will request Santoyo be detained pending a possible trial.