Ex-Colombian general gets 13 years in bribe scheme

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Associated Press

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 14 at 12:36 PM

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former top Colombian police general has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for taking bribes from a right-wing paramilitary group that the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

Mauricio Santoyo Velasco was sentenced Friday in federal court in Virginia after pleading guilty earlier this year. The former general admitted he provided material support to the far-right United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. The group is believed to engage in drug trafficking, assassinations and kidnappings.

The plea deal had limited Santoyo's potential sentence to 10 to 15 years.

Santoyo had been the head of security for Colombia's then-President Alvaro Uribe, and at one point Santoyo led an anti-terrorist group. Santoyo's lawyers argued he was motivated in part by a desire to stamp out leftist rebel groups.

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