A U.S. court has charged a retired Colombian police general with helping drug traffickers smuggle cocaine into the country.
Gen. Mauricio Santoyo was indicted by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine knowing and intending that it would be unlawfully imported to the United States.
Santoyo, who served as a top commander in Colombia's anti-terrorism units from 1996 to 2002 and head of security for former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe from 2002 to 2006, is accused of aiding a drug gang known as the Office of Envigado, as well as the far-right paramilitary group United Self-Defense Forces of Columbia -- both of which were engaged in smuggling cocaine through Central American and Mexico to the U.S.
In exchange for lucrative bribes, Santoyo tipped these groups off on anti-trafficking operations and provided support through security forces under his command, the indictment said.
Santoyo is alleged to have committed these crimes while he was serving as then-President Uribe's security chief.
Colombian authorities said they have not yet received an order to arrest Santoyo, who remains in the country.
On Monday, Santoyo responded to the charges against him.
I served Colombia for more than 30 years in the National Police, and I'm sure I can dispel any doubts about my actions, he told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.