Ex-Colombian Security Chief Turns Self in to DEA
Santoyo accused of helping smuggle cocaine into the United States from 2002 to 2008
CNN Wire Staff
July 03, 2012(CNN) -- The man who served as chief of security for former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe boarded a U.S. plane bound for Virginia, where he faces drug trafficking charges, police said.
Mauricio Santoyo Velasco voluntarily turned himself in to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials in Colombia's capital after a weekend of negotiations, Colombian police said.
According to a federal indictment unsealed last month, Santoyo is accused of working with paramilitary groups to smuggle cocaine into the United States from about 2002 to 2008.
Uribe was popular as president in part because of his tough stance against leftist rebels. But critics accused his administration of siding with paramilitary groups, which also traffick drugs, in its fight.
Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International had called for a complete cutoff of U.S. military aid to Colombia due to the armed forces' alleged ties to paramilitaries.
The former president distanced himself from Santoyo, a retired police general, via his Twitter account after the indictment became public.
Santoyo was assigned to him by defense and police officials, he said.
"I reject, with pain and indignation, any delinquent conduct, in which according to ongoing judicial proceedings, involve General Santoyo," Uribe's Twitter account said.
Journalist Fernando Ramos and CNN's Helena de Moura contributed to this report.