BOGOTA (AFP) – Recorded confessions made by the man who was Colombia’s most wanted drug lord before his arrest have been stolen, in another blow to his latest trial, officials said on Saturday.
The recordings of Dairo Antonio Usuga (pic below), also known as “Otoniel,” were made on Wednesday by a member of the Truth Commission, the body investigating a decades-long conflict between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that ended with a 2016 peace deal.
The commission reported that on February 18, “unidentified persons entered the investigator’s home at night”, according to a statement.
“In the incident… the digital recorders that were used in the interview and a computer were stolen,” it said.
The commission had already stressed on Thursday the need to have “guarantees” that Otoniel’s testimonies were received “in confidentiality”, after various media outlets reported police officers were present during the interrogations.
Police interrupted a hearing for Otoniel on Thursday, arguing there were concerns he was planning to escape.
The Truth Commission also asked authorities and the international community, including the United Nations, for conditions to continue investigating “without intimidation”.
Usuga, 50, was arrested in October in northwest Colombia’s dense jungle during an operation involving some 700 uniformed agents backed by 18 helicopters.