Colombia extradites to US brother of powerful left lawmaker

Jan 18, 2023, 7:13 PM | Updated: Jan 19, 2023, 11:53 am
In this photo provided by the Colombian Police press office, police escort Alvaro Cordoba during hi...

In this photo provided by the Colombian Police press office, police escort Alvaro Cordoba during his extradition to U.S. in Bogota, Colombia, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. Colombia has extradited to the U.S. the brother of Senator Piedad Cordoba on charges that he conspired with dissident guerrillas to smuggle huge quantities of cocaine. (Colombian Police press office via AP)

(Colombian Police press office via AP)

MIAMI (AP) — Colombia on Thursday extradited to the U.S. the brother of powerful leftist senator on charges that he conspired with dissident guerrillas to smuggle huge quantities of cocaine.

A handcuffed Álvaro Córdoba was handed to agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for a chartered flight to New York.

The case was something of a minefield for President Gustavo Petro, a former leftist rebel who signed off on the extradition of his ally’s brother despite his own increasing criticism of Colombia’s role as the U.S. caretaker in the war on drugs.

Córdoba was arrested in Medellin, Colombia, last February on drug trafficking and weapons charges returned by a federal grand jury in Manhattan.

Córdoba’s sister, Sen. Piedad Córdoba, was elected to the Senate as part of Petro’s coalition in a historic victory last year. For decades she has been a leftist stalwart in deeply conservative Colombia who promoted peace with rebel groups, closer ties to Venezuela’s socialist government and more support for traditionally overlooked Afro-Colombian communities.

She has said that she and her brother are the targets of a set-up akin to the manhunt decades ago that brought down Medellin cartel boss Pablo Escobar.

But her complaints of “political persecution” have so far fallen on deaf ears, with Petro shortly after his election suggesting she take a breather from politics. In September, he signed off on Córdoba’s extradition — something that was taken as a hopeful sign in Washington, which has relied on Colombia’s support for more than two decades to limit at the source the supply of cocaine entering the U.S.

Although the U.S. case against Álvaro Córdoba remains sealed, Colombian court records from his attempt to block extradition show that the 63-year-old nutritionist was targeted in a coordinated sting by a unidentified confidential source working at the direction of the DEA.

In several recorded meetings, the confidential source told Córdoba that he was looking for protection inside Colombia to smuggle as much as three tons of cocaine per month through Mexico to New York, according to an affidavit by DEA Special Agent Matthew Passmore accompanying the extradition request authorized by Colombia’s Supreme Court.

Córdoba then put the source in touch with an associate who said he had a large amount of “chickens” — allegedly a coded reference to cocaine, the affidavit says.

Cordoba also allegedly offered to make arrangements for the DEA source to visit a clandestine camp in southern Colombian jungles where 300 guerrillas armed with surface-to-air missiles and other weapons would supply and provide safe passage for the narcotics. The rebel unit was run by a holdout commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia who refused to go along with a 2016 peace deal that Piedad Córdoba helped broker.

Right before Christmas in 2021, Córdoba and an associate allegedly delivered to the confidential source and an undercover Colombian official a five-kilogram sample of cocaine in exchange for $15,000. A few months later, Córdoba was arrested.

___

Associated Press writer Astrid Suarez in Bogota, Colombia, contributed to this report.

___

Joshua Goodman on Twitter: @APJoshGoodman

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

substation...
Associated Press

Puyallup man accused in substation vandalism is released from custody

A federal judge issued the order for Matthew Greenwood, 32, after renewed efforts by his attorney to get Greenwood into a drug-treatment facility.
23 hours ago
FILE - The sun dial near the Legislative Building is shown under cloudy skies, March 10, 2022, at t...
Associated Press

Democrats in Washington state choose Conrad as new leader

The Washington State Democratic Party has chosen Shasti Conrad, the former leader of King County Democrats, as its new chair.
23 hours ago
Private and home school students, their parents and advocates crowed part of the second floor of th...
Associated Press

‘School choice’ is culture-war focus for Kansas lawmakers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Republican legislators in Kansas are focusing on helping conservative parents remove their children from public schools over what’s taught about gender and sexuality rather than pursuing a version of what critics call Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. A proposal to allow parents to use state tax dollars to pay for […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Actor Alec Baldwin attends a news conference at United Nations headquarters, on Sept. 21, 20...
Associated Press

Deadline nears for Alec Baldwin in deadly movie set shooting

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors planned to file felony charges of involuntary manslaughter Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal on the set of a Western movie in 2021. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died shortly after being wounded at a film set ranch on the outskirts of […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Boeing bids farewell to an icon, delivers last 747 jumbo jet

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing bids farewell to an icon on Tuesday: It’s delivering its final 747 jumbo jet. Since its first flight in 1969, the giant yet graceful 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, a transport for NASA’s space shuttles, and the Air Force One […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Monday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Arlington 56, Shorewood 34 Auburn 78, Auburn Riverside 30 Auburn Mountainview 64, Bonney Lake 59 Cheney 61, Rogers (Spokane) 48 Columbia River 66, Hudson’s Bay 59 Concrete 52, Cedar Park Christian Lynnwood 10 Federal Way 66, Tahoma 54 Fellowship Christian 51, Lopez 37 Highland, Idaho 53, Colton 47 Interlake 53, Highline 49 […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Colombia extradites to US brother of powerful left lawmaker