Prosecutors Ask for Maximum Sentence for Uribe’s Ex-Security Chief

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US prosecutors have asked for the maximum 15-year sentence in the case of Mauricio Santoyo, the security chief of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe who admitted ties to organized crime. The sentence suggests the ex-police general has not turned informer to reduce his sentence, leaving Uribe, yet again, unscathed.

In August, Santoyo pleaded guilty to charges of aiding the paramilitaries of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) and Medellin-based crime syndicate the Oficina de Envigado.

Santoyo confessed to providing “personnel, services, advice and assistance” to the groups, facilitating both terrorist acts and drug trafficking. These ranged from moving corrupt officials to regions where they could be useful to the organizations to supplying them with information from illegal wiretaps, according to Semana.

The crimes listed by prosecutors cover a period from 2001-2008; Santoyo served as Uribe’s chief of security from 2003-2006.

On December 14, Santoyo will be sentenced in a federal court in Virginia, and while his lawyers have requested the minimum 10-year sentence to reflect his years of service in law enforcement, prosecutors have requested the full sentence in view of the seriousness of his crimes.

InSight Crime Analysis

Santoyo is just the latest member of Uribe’s inner circle to face serious criminal charges. These former officials have been charged with spying on and intimidating the then president’s political opponents and paramilitary collusion, among other crimes. However, Uribe himself has so far emerged from the investigations unscathed. The worst that can be said is that the president was guilty of bad judgment in selecting personnel.

The speculation that Santoyo, who had initially proclaimed his innocence, might cooperate with US authorities gave rise to the belief he would inform on his former colleagues, including Uribe, in return for a reduced sentence.

However, if, as now seems likely, Santoyo has not provided information about Uribe or other high-ranking members of his administration, then it seems that, once again, a criminal investigation has stopped just short of Uribe’s door.

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