Aircraft wreckage (presumably drug transport plane) off the island of norman’s cay, which belonged to carlos lehder, and was used as a headquarters for drug smuggling by the colombian medellin cartel. Photo: mike scalora.5
Link to assassination of justice minister in colombia in 1984? Carlos lehder was extradited from U.S. Custody to germany in june
In mid-july, former colombian drug trafficker carlos lehder rivas was extradited from the U.S. To germany – apparently to escape new criminal trials in colombia.
The transfer was possible because lehder’s father was german. Now the 70-year-old – who neither speaks german nor has relatives in germany – is caught up in his criminal past. According to information from telepolis the prosecutor’s office of the south american country has requested legal assistance from the german judicial authorities in the context of an investigation into a political murder 36 years ago and has asked for the testimony of the former drug trafficker via video conference.
The case could well become dangerous for lehder: it involved the assassination of then-justice minister rodrigo lara bonilla on 30. April 1984 in bogota. The politician had been shot by two hired killers because he had vehemently supported the extradition of drug traffickers to the USA.
The colombian public prosecutor’s office’s department for the investigation of human rights violations is now targeting two politicians in the murder case who are allegedly responsible for the assassination of lara bonilla. In this context, lehder’s statement "in accordance with international treaties and regulations on mutual legal assistance" via videoconference, according to a four-page letter from bogota, which telepolis .
Lehder’s testimony could make a significant contribution to solving the crime, as he was a member of the group at the time of the crime "was a member of the group los extraditables at the time of the crime, which opposed the then-minister’s firm fight against drug trafficking".
Lehder was extradited from the U.S. To germany in mid-june after 33 years in prison. In 1987, the close associate of drug lord pablo escobar was arrested in colombia and handed over to U.S. Authorities. In the USA he was sentenced to life imprisonment for smuggling 2,000 kilos of cocaine.000 kilos of cocaine, he was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 135 years in prison.
The 2.000 kilograms were only the part of the drug trafficking he was found to be involved in. Lehder was responsible in the 1970s and 1980s for the development of an extensive drug distribution network with small planes to the united states and made for the medellin cartel escobar’s billions in sales.
His prison sentence was later reduced because he testified against panamanian head of state manuel noriega. His extradition from the USA to germany now protects him from further trials. Article 16 of the basic law prohibits the extradition of german citizens.
Nevertheless, the investigations in the lara bonilla case could also endanger lehder in germany. His son rodrigo lara restrepo, a member of the colombian senate, has requested an investigation in his home country. He argues that the former drug trafficker approved the murder of his father in an interview.
The then minister of justice was "executed by the people because the hand of the people is the hand of god and the voice of the people is the voice of god". He also considers the murder of lara bonilla to be justified.
It is unlikely that these statements alone will be enough for a preliminary investigation in germany. In colombia, however, the ex-drug trafficker, who is now said to be seriously ill, will in any case no longer have to answer for his membership in the medellin cartel and other criminal organizations.
With lehder, the third criminal from latin america with german roots has found a safe haven in the federal republic of germany. In 2011, hartmut hopp, the former doctor of the colonia dignidad sect settlement in chile, fled to germany to avoid a prison sentence for aiding and abetting the sexual abuse of minors.
German prosecutors later dropped the case despite protests from sect victims. One year later, the former argentine militar luis esteban kyburg left for germany, today he lives in berlin.
The commander of an elite unit is accused of having participated in the abduction and murder of 152 people during the military dictatorship in argentina (1976-1983).