Colombia says ex-FARC leader held in drug probe

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Colombia arrested a soon-to-be congressman from the Marxist FARC party on charges of drug trafficking on Monday, the government said.

"If due process is fulfilled - and if there is irrefutable evidence - then there are grounds for extradition for crimes committed since the signing of the (peace) accord, and I will not stay my hand in authorising that", Mr Santos said.

But Chief Prosecutor Nestor Martinez said a NY grand jury handed down an indictment after evaluating evidence, including videos and communications, that indicated Santrich and three other co-conspirators who were also arrested hatched a plan in the second half of 2017 to smuggle into the USA cocaine with a street value of $320 million. They allegedly discussed their access to coca fields, cocaine laboratories and US -registered aircraft to smuggle the drugs. "Extradition would be a violation of the accords, the failure of the peace process", Marquez said.

President Juan Manuel Santos defended the arrest to the USA merit as vital to manage the credibility of the calmness, which Colombians overwhelmingly believe overly generous to rebels responsible for atrocities perpetrated during five years of damn, armed battle.

The accord allows for rebels to be spared from prosecution if they lay down their arms and confess their war crimes to special peace tribunals.

After the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia disarmed previous year, the group announced the formation of a political party.

Seuxis Hernandez, a blind former peace negotiator for the FARC, reportedly met with buyers to organise a drugs shipment to the the capital Bogota last November, but FARC leaders have condemned it as a set-up. "This really is what the Colombian persons require. In this respect, there can't be any room for tolerance or weakness".

He was set to take office in July as part of a peace deal with Colombia's government signed in 2016.

Santrich, who joined the guerrilla movement within his 20s and gradually climbed to its principal control structure, was among those earliest rebel leaders to wager on peace. "Santrich can not be the trophy to give to (U.S. president) Trump on his visit to Colombia", the statement concludes.

The arrest of one of the political leaders of Colombia's demobilized FARC guerrillas threatens to collapse the country's peace process, a visibly upset rebel leader said Tuesday.

USA governments have doubted the sincerity of their FARC government's commitment to abandoning the drug commerce since it passes politics, and past year called 2-1 suspected drug traffickers needed for extradition who somehow was able to wind up to a list of fighters and their sympathizers entitled to benefits under the peace treaty. But they aren't protected for crimes committed after the December 2016 signing.