The Colombian government has arrested Jesus Santrich, a Congress member-elect representing the recently formed political party of FARC -Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons - at the request of the United States Embassy in Colombia, accusing him of drug trafficking. Santrich was a leader in the now disarmed FARC guerrilla movement who played a critical role in the 2016 peace process with the Colombian government.
President Juan Manuel Santos, in a press conference these evening with the Colombian Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez by his side said, "as a result of a rigorous investigation there is irrefutable and overwhelming evidence that demonstrates the responsibility of Mr. Seusis Hernandez, known as Jesus Santrich, having engaged in narcotrafficking crimes committed after the signing of the peace accord."
The accord offers disarmed FARC members sanctuary to not be indicted for crimes committed before the 2016 signing, however, those committed after are subject to a full judicial process.
The president ended by saying: "Colombianos - no matter the difficulties we have to keep working to create peace, which is the most important legacy that we can leave the next generations. That's an obligation until the last day of my administration, until the last day of my life."
A U.S. federal judge had written to the Colombian attorney general on April 4 making the request for the arrest of Santrich and asked that the Colombian authorities seize and make available all his electronic and computer storage systems, bank accounting and money transfer information, and any firearms associated with the accused.
In the communique to the attorney general, U.S. authorities said their arrest request was "proportionate and suitable." The DEA and several other U.S. authorities operating in the region claim that Santrich is guilty of "moving large quantities of drugs from Colombia to the United States."
FARC political party member Victoria Sandino tweeted, "this is a delicate and dangerous situation. It demonstrates just once more what we have continually denounced in terms of the insecure justice system and lack of guarantees that we have as party members."
According to Santrich's lawyer, the FARC leader has declared himself on a hunger strike effective immediately.