Colombia extradites former militia chief to U.S.
The Colombian Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that "Don Mario" could be extradited to the U.S. for allegedly smuggling cocaine into that country in 2013 and 2014.
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A former militia chief has been extradited by Colombia to the United States, where he faces drug trafficking and other charges, the National Police said Monday.
Daniel Rendon Herrera, known as "Don Mario," was handed over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Marshals Service in the early morning hours, the National Police said in a statement.
Rendon was taken to the Military Air Transport Command (CATAM) base in Bogota and then flown to the United States, Noticias RCN reported.
The Colombian Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 24, 2017, that Rendon could be extradited to the United States for allegedly smuggling cocaine into that country between September 2013 and December 2014.
Rendon was a member of the Elmer Cardenas Bloc of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) militia federation.
The AUC, accused of committing numerous human rights violations, demobilized more than 31,000 of its fighters between the end of 2003 and mid-2006 as part of the peace process with former President Alvaro Uribe's administration.
The group was made up of numerous rural defense cooperatives formed more than 20 years ago to battle leftist rebels.
Many of the militias, however, degenerated into death squads and carried out massacres of peasants suspected of having rebel sympathies, along with slayings of journalists and union members accused of favoring the leftist insurgents.
Rendon was stripped of his protections under the demobilization process on Sept. 9 after a court in Bogota ruled in favor of the Attorney General's Office, which determined that he engaged in drug trafficking after demobilizing.
Rendon's brother, Fredy Rendon Herrera, another former militia member, is serving time at the Picaleña prison in Ibague, a city in central Colombia.