Readout of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker's Trip to Bogotá, Colombia
From January 30 to February 1, 2019 in Bogotá, Colombia, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, along with Justice Department staff and U.S. Ambassador Kevin Whitaker, met with President Iván Duque Márquez, Colombian Attorney General Néstor Humberto Martínez Neira, Cabinet members, the Congressional Secretary General, and Colombian police officials to reaffirm the long-standing law enforcement relationship between the United States and Colombia and to strengthen judicial cooperation and goals for addressing transnational crime and supporting the return of democracy in Venezuela.
In separate meetings, Acting Attorney General Whitaker met with U.S. Department of Justice components stationed at the U.S. Embassy, to include the FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. They provided briefings on the U.S. government’s law enforcement partnership with Colombia in dismantling and disrupting transnational criminal organizations including combatting Clan del Golfo, which was designated by the Department of Justice on Oct. 19, 2018 as one of the top transnational organized crime threats.
On February 1, Acting Attorney General Whitaker visited the General Santander National Police Academy and gave brief remarks at a wreath laying ceremony in honor of the brave young men and women who lost their lives or were wounded in the line of duty during the Jan. 17 suicide car bomb attack at the officer cadet school by the narco-terrorist group ELN. To approximately 100 Colombian National police officers, AG Whitaker said he was directing all U.S. Department of Justice components stationed at the U.S. Embassy, to include DEA, FBI, the U.S. Marshal’s Service and our DOJ Attaches, to make cases against ELN a top priority for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Acting AG Whitaker pledged that the Department of Justice, together with the Colombian National Police and Attorney General’s Office, "will pursue these cases with the same investigative skill and prosecutorial resources, with which we’ve successfully pursued the Clan del Golfo.”
Acting AG Whitaker was also provided a Congressional briefing at the Colombian Congress.
During the visit, American and Colombian officials discussed their shared mission of combatting narco-trafficking and narco-terrorism as well as illicit finances, foreign corruption, human trafficking, child sexual exploitation and arms trafficking. Both sides look forward to continuing to work together to achieve their shared objectives, as well as continued progress on these issues.