News and Press Releases

Retired Colombian Police General Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Provide Material Support to Designated Terrorist Organization

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20 , 2012

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Mauricio Santoyo Velasco, 53, of Colombia, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to provide material support and resources to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (“AUC”), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Ava A. Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Washington Division; and Assistant Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge James C. Cacheris. 

            “This important prosecution holds accountable a rogue individual who abandoned his duty to protect the Colombian people to serve his own interests and those of drug traffickers and terrorists,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride.  “Due to the hard work and cooperation of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Colombian National Police, we have been able to bring this investigation and prosecution to a successful conclusion.”

            “The Drug Enforcement Administration, working in partnership with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Colombian National Police, has brought to justice a corrupt former Colombian Police General,” stated DEA SAC Cooper-Davis.  “As a result of this investigation and efforts by both DEA and the Colombian National Police, Santoyo's final chapter has been written.”

            Santoyo was indicted on May 24, 2012, by a federal grand jury on related drug charges and entered his guilty plea to a criminal information filed in open court today.  Santoyo faces a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and maximum penalty of 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 30, 2012. 

            In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Santoyo, a retired general with the Colombian National Police, admitted to accepting bribes from AUC members in exchange for information about ongoing law enforcement operations and other assistance that allowed AUC to engage in terrorist and drug-trafficking activity.  Santoyo admitted to informing AUC members and associates of upcoming arrest operations, including DEA operations, and to conducting unauthorized wiretaps of AUC rivals, among other things.

            This case was investigated by DEA’s Washington Division Office and the Andean Division.  Mr. MacBride also thanked the Colombian National Police and the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security and Criminal Divisions for their assistance in this matter.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

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