Former Minister of Agriculture, convicted in front of a video camera and for at least 40 minutes Andres Felipe Arias He agreed to hand over the information he had collected during his two years in office. He spent two seasons at the Federal Detention Center in the city of Miami.
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After that Case against former political boss, ex-President Álvaro Uribe, dismissed -Due to allegations of witness buying and procedural fraud- the Prosecutor’s Office called him to testify because he could not stay four days before the second presidential tour.
Although Arias was very close to Uribe and was even portrayed as his successor, his voice was not heard in the first phase of this process. neither by the Court of Cassation, which he holds, nor by the Prosecutor’s Office, although it is known that he has the relevant data, and even though some information has been leaked.
This time he questioned Prosecutor Durley González of the Third Prosecutor’s Office transferred to the CourtGathering evidence to support the new request for dismissal of the case, which will reactivate on 10 October.
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EL TIEMPO reveals video with Arias provided the data. Among them is the drug lords and an ‘expert’ who has already expressed his willingness to take advantage of the ‘complete peace’ of the Petro Government.
Arias, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the Agricultural Income Security scandal, began by saying that he met respectable criminals in a maximum security prison. Diego Murillo Bejarano, alias Don Berna.
The setting was the room where he met with his lawyers to try to stop his extradition to Colombia. But also in prison units or while waiting to be taken to his cell in the industrial elevator where the prisoners were transported.
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“I had the opportunity to talk to the following people. Nickname Gordo Lindo, nickname Don Berna, nickname Cuco Vanoy, nickname Macaco, with nickname Mi Sangre, most of the drug traffickers who enter this detention center. And they spontaneously started telling me things,” said Arias, who had been under house arrest for a month (see video on eltiempo.com).
According to the former minister, when Uribe visited him in prison, he learned some of the information that some convicts had given him. And in the view of the ex-president’s defense, it’s clear that there is evidence of him and her. her brother is the victim of a montage.
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“He (Álvaro Uribe) was very impressed to see me in a prisoner’s uniform, hairless, handcuffed, chained, and all that.I remember being very shocked. And we talked and I said no to him, calm down because one gets used to everything, ”explained the former minister.
Arias told the Prosecutor’s Office that Uribe had learned that the mob was plotting against him and against him. her brother, rancher Santiago Uribe. Second, he is awaiting a decision in the following period for conspiracy to commit aggravated crime. (for the alleged formation of the paramilitary group called ’12 apostles’) and for aggravated murder.
“His nickname is Gordo Lindo’s Ramón Quintero, Major Meneses and He reassures Arias that they “want to plot against his brother Santiago.”
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Menes, the oldest (r.) Police Juan Carlos Meneses is a key witness in the proceedings against Santiago Uribe.
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“He told me that Ramón Quintero was Major Meneses’ boss, that Ramón Quintero had placed Major Meneses in Buga at one point; he was able to control his security and was reporting to Ramón Quintero. And ‘Gordo Lindo’ told me that Ramón Quintero He said Major Meneses could distort his testimony against Santiago Uribe,” Arias said.
Meneses’ statements confirmed Against Santiago Uribe. In fact, it was accepted by the JEP and is now free.
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The ex-minister, in her story, after she got out of prison—in the first season, at the end of September 2017— He was summoned by a Colombian lawyer to the Starbucks store in Doral in Miami-Dade, Florida. There he says they gave another letter where ‘Gordo Lindo’ gave more information.
‘Gordo Lindo’ extradited to the US Currently serving a sentence in La Picota for money laundering and illegal enrichment, capo Wílber Varela, nicknamed Jabón, described a meeting.
“Varela said to me: ‘Go, fat man, how are you going to Córdoba, tell your neighbors, Castaños, to stop talking fags about the fact that I’m a guerilla, I’ve been the best man. As a round of self-defense and example, listen to what I have for you now. Here in Buga we have a police officer from our own troops. (…). He was on duty in Yarumal and if Castaño needs to take the hiccups from that hp of Uribe and hold him from the roe deer, our man will do as I tell him and he can say that Uribe’s brother is the one who gave him orders. social clean up and kill as much hp as he wants. Let the fat man and Castaños think about what they can come up with and let me know, or tell me that these ideas are pending somewhere and need action, and I’ll fix it. flea away”, the letter attributed to ‘Gordo Lindo’ reads.
Prosecutor’s Office asked Arias for the diary he made in prison with all the stories other capos and paramilitaries told him.
But he said it should be treated with absolute secrecy because There is additional information, such as the way paramilitary chief Vicente Castaño was killed.
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“My friend, Mr. Prosecutor, this document brings a lot, mmm… If you think about it, but I would like you to consult it with the Prosecutor, because many other things can be deduced from it. For example, there they told me about the Vicente Castaño murder. They told me about drug trafficking and corruption of people. And that scares me, so (…) I will publish it one day. That’s it, I want to tell you, an institution in Colombia, the original, is committed to protecting me as a resource and my family,” Arias argued.
Also, when asked if he knew ‘RQ’ convicted capo Ramón Quintero, he said they never spoke, despite having seen him in jail: “He also landed on the ground, but had some distance with me.”
And they asked the former minister for the information of the assistant lawyer who gave him the letter from ‘Gordo Lindo’: María Isabel Zambrano.
(See all articles from EL TIEMPO’s research unit here)
Juan Carlos Meneses’ lawyer, Carlos Toro, told EL TIEMPO:He doesn’t know Arias’ story, nor does he know of any procedural references to his client’s involvement with the mob. And he added that Meneses had told all of his activities to the Truth Commission (see box below).
But everything indicates that Arias’ testimony will be one of the pieces that will be used to support the blocking request in favor of Uribe. Everything indicates that this testimony will be one of the new pieces used. To support the new blocking request by the prosecution in favor of Uribe.
Police Major (right) Juan Carlos Meneses is the main witness of rancher Santiago Uribe Vélez, who allegedly participated in the formation and operation of the paramilitary group ’12 Apostles’, responsible for at least 30 murders in the Yarumal area in Antioquia. Indeed, Meneses was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the murder of Camilo Barrientos in Yarumal in 2017.
But he has been on parole since 2019 after the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) agreed to submit to that jurisdiction. In 2010, Meneses proclaimed that Santiago Uribe was the supposed founder of the ’12 Apostles’.
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Criminal lawyer Jaime Granados, who presided over Álvaro Uribe’s defense, challenged Meneses’ testimony because of inconsistencies and links to Venezuela and a former M-19 member. For the farmer’s defence, there is evidence in the file that Meneses was sheltered in the neighboring country before he reappeared in Argentina before making a statement against Santiago Uribe.
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