HomeNewsBriefFormer Head of Colombian Army Denies Links to Paramilitaries
BRIEF

Former Head of Colombian Army Denies Links to Paramilitaries

AUC / 13 JAN 2012 BY JEREMY MCDERMOTT EN

Retired General Mario Montoya, former head of the Colombian Army, has denied having any links to the AUC, despite being implicated by former members of the illegal right wing paramilitary army.

During three hours in court, General Montoya denied accusations made by Daniel Rendon Herrera, alias “Don Mario,” that he had received some $700,000 to help one faction of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) fight another. Rendon was then part of the Centauros Bloc of the AUC, but when the peace process between the government and the AUC finished in 2006 he did not surrender himself under the Justice and Peace amnesty legislation. Instead he set up a new group, now known as the Urabeños, which he led until his capture in April 2009.

Rendon is not the only former AUC fighter to implicate Montoya. Libardo Duarte, alias “Bam-Bam,” formerly of Metro Bloc of the AUC, has also testified that the general helped this group in Antioquia. Until the AUC’s final demobilization in 2006 (30,000 fighters surrendered their weapons between 2003 and 2006), the AUC was one of the biggest drug smuggling groups in Colombia.

General Montoya was one of Colombia’s most highly decorated soldiers and played a part in the emblematic rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages from the hands of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in July 2008. After retiring from the military, General Montoya was posted to the Colombian Embassy in Dominican Republic. He resigned that position in August 2011 as allegations began to mount up against him.

InSight Crime Analysis

InSight Crime heard other accusations of Montoya’s paramilitary links when interviewing one of the founders of the AUC, Carlos Mauricio Garcia, alias “Rodrigo 00” — a former army officer. During many interviews from 2001 until a few days before his murder in May 2004, Garcia said that he had worked for some time with General Montoya, who supportted his Metro Bloc’s fight against Marxist rebels.

Montoya allegedly supplied the paramilitaries with weapons and ammunition as well as allowing their fighters free movement through army checkpoints, particularly when Montoya commanded the 4th Brigade in Antioquia.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Tags

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 23 SEP 2016

A crime wave has hit Colombia's port city of Cartagena just days before government officials and FARC rebels are scheduled…

COLOMBIA / 15 MAR 2017

Venezuelan authorities recently announced cocaine seizures of almost three metric tons, illustrating the persistent flow of drugs on the…

COLOMBIA / 8 AUG 2012

Portuguese authorities arrested five men and seized over 300 kilograms of cocaine believed to belong to a Colombian trafficking network,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…