Colombia ex-general pleads guilty in US court

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Associated Press

Posted on August 20, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 20 at 6:31 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A retired Colombian police general who served as chief of security for his country's former hardline president, Alvaro Uribe, has pleaded guilty to helping a drug-trafficking paramilitary force classified by the U.S. as a terrorist group.

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 United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish initials AUC.

Santoyo was security chief for Uribe from 2002 to 2005 and served as a top anti-terrorism commander. He acknowledged in a plea agreement that from 2001 to 2008 he helped the AUC thwart Colombian and U.S. anti-trafficking efforts in exchange for bribes.

Santoyo faces between 10 and 15 years in prison when he's sentenced in November.

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