An ex-Colombian paramilitary leader has been sentenced to 16 and a half years in prison for trafficking cocaine into the U.S., the country’s Justice Department reported.
Rodrigo Tovar-Pupo, better known by his alias Jorge 40, was one of 13 right-wing leaders extradited to the U.S. in 2008 after then-President Alvaro Uribe accused them of breaking the terms of an earlier peace deal.
Tovar-Pupo was a leader in the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, Justice said. The paramilitaries were responsible for some of the most atrocious human rights violations carried out in Colombia between 1985 and 2002 after the group formed to defend landowners and business leaders against attacks by leftist rebels.
Unlike the other warlords, Tovar refused to negotiate and instead fought the drug charges made against him. He argued that he wasn’t personally involved in the trade and attributed any wrongdoing to Colombia’s conflict.
“Rodrigo Tovar-Pupo funded his violent and dangerous paramilitary organization by reaping the profits of manufacturing and shipping thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.
“His actions did untold damage to the United States and Colombia.”
With time served and good conduct, Tovar could be released in under five years, federal Judge Reggie B. Walton said.