The United States has announced a reward of up to $20 million for the arrests of two infamous ex-FARC Mafia leaders Seuxis Hernandez-Solarte and Luciano Marin Arango. The two played a key role in Colombia's historic peace process but their long history of involvement in drug trafficking activities has once again made them return to arms.
The announcement comes three months after the U.S. Department of Justice charged Hernandez and Marin, along with a dozen other Venezuelan officials, of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States. Both the men are among the "most wanted" and were last seen in a video in 2019 sharing their future plan of action.
Colombia's Most Wanted
The U.S. State Department announced on Thursday an increased reward of up to $10 million each for information leading to the capture of Seuxis HernÃ¡ndez Solarte, alias "JesÃºs Santrich," and Luciano MarÃn Arango, alias "IvÃ¡n MÃ¡rquez." Both Hernandez and Marin were given seats in Colombia's congress and had originally supported the 2016 peace accord between the country's government and the rebel Marxist-led Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
However, they both later rejected the deal and fled amid accusations that they continued drug trafficking. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said both Hernandez and Marin "have a long history of involvement in drug trafficking activities, which resulted in their criminal indictments."
The United States believes that Hernandez and Marin are in Venezuela. The two have now been accused of helping Cartel de Los Soles, or Cartel of the Suns, which comprises senior Venezuelan officials, to ship bulk cocaine to the United States. "For decades, the FARC has used drug trafficking to finance their terrorist activities and partnered with corrupt Venezuelan elites to threatened (the) United States and our allies," DEA Acting Administrator Timothy Shea said.
Colombia Also Shows Concern
The Justice Department first tightened the noose around Hernandez and Marin in March charging them with conspiring with Venezuelan cartels to smuggle drugs into the United States. On Thursday, the Colombian government, in a separate statement, said that the capture of the two men would substantially contribute to the stability of the peace accord.
Colombia has often alleged Venezuelan President NicolÃ¡s Maduro of providing them shelter. Hernandez was jailed in 2018 after prosecutors in New York asked for his arrest in drug charges. However, a month later, Columbia's Supreme Court set him free after investigations couldn't prove any of the charges.
A few days later, Hernandez disappeared. The same happened with Marin who disappeared when U.S. officials were investigating him. Later in August 2019, both men appeared in a video in olive green uniforms and which they claim to have been shot in the Amazon, announcing a new offensive against the Colombian government for failing to uphold the peace accord.