Ex-Colombian Rebel Arrested on Drug Trafficking Charges

Published: 11 April 2018

Seuxis Paucias Hernandez Solarte (Photo: Interpol)Interpol red notice of Hernandez (Photo: Interpol)

By Daniela Castro

Colombian authorities arrested a former rebel leader on Monday who allegedly conspired to produce 10 tons of cocaine and import them to the US. The suspect was one of five former rebels with a seat in the lower house of Colombia’s Congress.

Seuxis Paucias Hernandez Solarte, 51, best known by his alias ‘Jesus Santrich,’ was arrested at his residence in Colombia’s capital of Bogota and could be extradited to the US on drug trafficking charges.

According to an Interpol red notice, “the first 7,000 kilograms of cocaine would be delivered within a month, and the remaining 3,000 kilograms of cocaine would be delivered in the following 30 days.”

Hernandez and his co-conspirators allegedly told the buyers that they had access to laboratories to supply the cocaine, to US-registered aircrafts to move the drugs and provided evidence of access to large quantities of cocaine. 

The drug had a wholesale value of US$15 million and a street value in New York of $320 million, according to Chief Prosecutor Nestor Humberto Martinez.

The international arrest warrant was based on an indictment issued by judge Henry Pitman at the US Southern District of New York on April 4. 

Martinez said a New York grand jury handed down the indictment after evaluating strong evidence, including electronic and documentary evidence, and videos that indicated that Santrich and three other co-conspirators – who were also arrested—were involved in drug trafficking

In a televised statement, President Juan Manuel Santos warned that if the evidence shows the responsibility of Hernandez, “his hand will not shake to authorize his extradition.” 

The Colombian government signed a peace agreement with the FARC on November 2016.

"The construction of peace requires the absolute commitment and respect for the law and the accords," Santos said on Monday. "This is what the Colombian people demand.” 

“The agreement is clear. Who commits a crime after the signing of the final agreement, will be submitted to the ordinary jurisdiction for new crimes committed,” he added. 

The conspiracy to import the thousands of kilograms of cocaine allegedly took place between June 2017 and April 2018. 

Hernandez is a member of the political party Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Comun (Farc) – the party that emerged after rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was dismantled.

The peace deal prescribed that the new party would have five seats in the Senate and five seats in the House of Representatives for the periods 2018-2022 and 2022-2026, reported Verdad Abierta.

Colombia is now the world's largest producer of cocaine.