Colombia governor arrested, accused of gang ties

AP News
Posted: Oct 13, 2013 1:57 PM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombian officials have arrested a provincial governor for alleged collaboration with right-wing paramilitaries and say he's suspected of involvement in three murders.

Guajira Gov. Francisco Gomez Cerchar was under treatment at a clinic for unspecified health problems Sunday following his arrest.

Deputy prosecutor Jorge Perdomo told reporters on Saturday that Gomez is believed linked to bands led by Rodrigo Tovar and Salvatore Mancuso and is being investigated in three killings, the most recent in 2000.

Mancuso and Tovar were extradited to the United States on drug trafficking charges in 2008.

Colombia's paramilitaries were created in the 1980s by drug traffickers and ranchers to counter leftist rebel kidnapping and extortion. But they evolved into drug-trafficking gangs. Dozens of Colombian politicians have been imprisoned on charges of ties to the gangs.