Colombian ex-general pleads guilty in US court

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Associated Press

Posted on August 20, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 20 at 3:31 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A retired Colombian police general has pleaded guilty to a charge that he aided a drug-trafficking paramilitary group classified by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

Mauricio Santoyo Velasco pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., to one count of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, the far-right United Self-Defense Forces of Columbia, known by its Spanish initials AUC.

Santoyo was chief of security for Colombia's then-president, Alvaro Uribe, from 2002 to 2005 and also served as a top anti-terrorism commander. He acknowledged in a plea agreement that from 2001 to 2008 he took bribes to help the AUC thwart anti-trafficking efforts by the U.S. and Colombia.

The 53-year-old Santoyo faces between 10 and 15 years in prison when he is sentenced in November.

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