HomeNewsBriefColombia to Extradite Paramilitary Drug Capo 'Don Mario'
BRIEF

Colombia to Extradite Paramilitary Drug Capo 'Don Mario'

AUC / 17 DEC 2014 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos has signed the order that will send drug trafficker and former paramilitary chief Daniel Rendon Herrera, alias "Don Mario," to the US, following a drawn out case that has raised questions relevant to the current peace process with the FARC guerrillas. 

Don Mario is wanted by the Southern District Court of New York for conspiring to traffic drugs and supporting a terrorist organization -- demobilized right-wing paramilitary umbrella group the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).

He is a prominent figure in Colombia's conflict who worked for the leaders of the AUC before founding his own criminal organization, following his demobilization in 2006.  

Santos' signing of Don Mario's extradition order followed years of legal wrangling. In 2010, Colombia's Supreme Court ruled that Don Mario could not be extradited until he had participated in the country's reparations process, under the terms of the Justice and Peace Law. The process guarantees paramilitaries a certain degree of amnesty in exchange for testimony about the conflict. 

Don Mario did not disappoint. As Verdad Abierta details, he told the Justice and Peace court about the Colombian military's collaboration with the paramilitaries, and described the backing that some AUC leaders provided to political campaigns. 

But he also admitted that after formally laying down his arms in 2006, he continued his involvement in trafficking drugs and other crimes, until his arrest in 2009. Last year, the Justice and Peace court ruled that because of this, he was ineligible for the benefits provided under the demobilization law.

The drug trafficking organization established by Don Mario, the Urabeños, went on to become the most powerful criminal group in Colombia, as detailed in a special investigation by InSight Crime.

InSight Crime Analysis

Don Mario's fate echoes that of 14 top paramilitary commanders who were extradited to the US in a surprise move in 2008, after former President Alvaro Uribe claimed they had failed to cooperate with the peace process. However, in contrast to this group of paramilitary leaders, Don Mario provided more information about his criminal networks and his crimes. His extradition may provoke arguments from victims of the conflict and others that sending him to the US to be tried for drug trafficking will inhibit efforts to further investigate crimes against humanity that the paramilitaries committed in Colombia. 

SEE ALSO: AUC News and Profile

This is the type of uncomfortable trade-off that Colombia's political system is now considering with rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who have been in peace talks with the government since 2012. Many top FARC commanders are wanted in the US for drug trafficking, and are unlikely to agree to a peace deal unless the government can assure them they won't meet a fate like Don Mario's. As with the paramilitaries, the question of how to address the FARC's drug-related activities has provoked significant debate in Colombia

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 15 AUG 2013

A network of hired assassins led by three Colombians has been dismantled in Spain in what authorities called the biggest…

COLOMBIA / 6 JUL 2018

The arrest of a powerful FARC dissident in Colombia illustrates how intensifying criminalization of ex-guerrilla may prevent the government from…

COLOMBIA / 19 JUL 2012

Colombian emerald magnate Victor Carranza is approaching his end after a long battle with cancer, and his demise could spark…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…