“Otoniel” revealed links between paramilitary military and political to Special Court for Peace (JEP)
This content was published May 17, 2022 – 3:40
Bogota, May 16 (EFE) .- The former chief of the Gulf Clan Dairo Antonio Usuga, AKA “Otoniel” extradited to the US this month, revealed before the Special Court for Peace (JEP) the assumptions that had military ties and politicians with the paramilitary Self-Defense Units of Colombia (AUC).
This was revealed Monday Caracol News, which published excerpts of a statement more than 15 hours of “Otoniel” before the JEP before being extradited to the US where he talked about the alleged relationship of retired General Mario Montoya and Leonardo Barrero, former commander of the Army, and the former presidential candidate Luis Perez with paramilitaries before the signing of the peace agreement in 2016.
At the time of his arrest, Otoniel, 50 years old, had 128 arrest warrants in Colombia for crimes such as drug trafficking, extortion, murder, forced displacement, trafficking in arms, forming armed groups, conspiracy and crimes against humanity among others, as well as seven convictions.
Úsuga accumulated the criminal record over a lifetime in illegality, first in the ranks of the People’s Liberation Army (ELN), of which, following the signing of a peace agreement in 1991, became the AUC and after the demobilization of these, in 2006, he created the criminal gang Los Urabeños, current Clan of the Gulf.
THE CASE OF MONTOYA AND BARRERO
Otoniel said the alleged paramilitaries paid to General Montoya, when he was commander of the First Division of the Army, to influence 2005 on the transfer of an officer who was allied to that group to the department of Casanare (east).
“The Front Casanare, to which I belonged, had to give him an armored Mario Montoya Bogota apartment here in Bogotá,” said Otoniel.
That transfer was generally Barrero, who said the former chief of the Clan of the Gulf, arrived in Casanare from Guaviare department to forge an alliance with the paramilitaries in a “war” that was at that time with the guerrillas.
This is not the first time Barrero is linked to drug traffickers, as has also been associated with Juan Castro Estupiñán, alias “Matamba”, who was arrested in May 2021 and escaped from La Picota prison in Bogota, in March .
The arrest put him bare a network of corruption involving military and former military Colombians who allegedly provided information about operations against the organization of it.
In the list of alleged collaborators it is also known as “Godfather”, name that “Matamba” referred to Barrero.
The retired officer has denied any link with alias “Matamba” and stressed reporters that during his career as a soldier was always respectful of the laws and made available to the prosecution investigate the actions of it.
The case of Luis PÉREZ
“Otoniel” said Perez, who resigned from his presidential aspirations on 11 May, it was close to the narco extradited to the US Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias “Mi Sangre” or “Savior.”
“I knew on the occasion twice that he met,” he said, adding that ” ‘Salvador’ was placing people in Medellin”, including Perez, who was mayor between 2001 and 2004, to take control of the city .
“When ‘Salvador’ was in Medellin, they were very close friends, good friends, we worked together,” he added.
Finally, “Otoniel” among the many issues that he spoke to the JEP, said many members of the security forces in municipalities in the departments of Córdoba and Antioquia “are on the payroll” of criminal groups for years.
“The operations were together daily with the battalion arrived in the area (…) was an operation against the guerrillas and (had) a lot of information from the public force. The intelligence officer was wrong a lot of information people of the organization to the work he would do, “he added. EFE