06 July 2005
U.S. Indicts Suspect Involved with Colombian Terrorist Group
Colombian accused of drug trafficking, illegal arms shipments
By Eric Green
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- U.S. law enforcement authorities have indicted a Colombian national for importing illicit drugs into the United States and for supplying firearms to a right-wing terrorist organization known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).
In a July 5 statement, the U.S. Department of Justice said that the Colombian, Hector Rodriguez-Acevedo, was charged in a four-count indictment with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization in violation of U.S. law.
Rodriguez-Acevedo was arrested in Colombia June 29 and U.S. authorities said they will request his extradition to the United States.
The indictment charges Rodriguez-Acevedo with conspiring with other individuals to provide hundreds of assault rifles, hundreds of fragmentation hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, mortar grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition to the AUC. The indictment also includes charges of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, and conspiring to use carry, and possess assault rifles and grenades in furtherance of the drug-trafficking and terrorism crimes.
If convicted of the drug-trafficking and firearms charges, Rodriguez-Acevedo could be sentenced to life in prison.
Alexander Acosta, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said: "Those who would trade arms for drugs threaten the welfare of our community and the security of our nation. This office will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute these kinds of crimes to the full extent of the law."
The AUC is a Colombian paramilitary group on the U.S. State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organization list. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says the AUC operates in most regions of Colombia and is principally funded by drug trafficking. AUC operations vary from multiton cocaine distributions to the United States and Europe, to assassinations and involvement in guerrilla combat units.
The AUC is one of three groups in Colombia that the State Department has designated as terrorist organizations. The two others are left-wing organizations: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and the National Liberation Army.
The designation by the State Department makes it illegal for U.S. citizens or for anyone else subject to the jurisdiction of the United States knowingly to provide material support or resources to the terrorist groups.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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