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Tipsheet

Colombia Police Chief Fired for a Truly Otherworldly Reason

The war on drugs is lost. We’ve known that for years, but if this activity is what law enforcement officials are conducting, then we should wrap this up and look to alternative policies. In the United States, some drugs are being legalized or decriminalized slowly, so on some level, more rational takes on narcotics and recreational drug use are already being codified in law. Yet, this story is Colombia-based, the epicenter of cocaine and the legendary status of the late Pablo Escobar. There’s also an interesting side story regarding the elusiveness of his cocaine hippos, but that’s another story. One of them was recently hit by an SUV and killed. 

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Back to Colombian policing, the nation fired its police chief after discovering he was performing exorcisms, using this rite to locate and apprehend those involved in the drug trade. Not only that but he also authorized his subordinates to do the same. The chief is a devout Catholic, which isn’t the issue, nor is his faith. But exorcisms and prayer aren’t what’s going to smash criminality. It’s good police work, and exorcisms are not in the repertoire for law enforcement (via AFP):

Colombia's government on Wednesday fired the country's police chief, Henry Sanabria, weeks after the devout Catholic revealed he used exorcism and prayer to help him tackle crime and pursue drug lords.

Sanabria sparked a scandal in mid-March when he told an interviewer that he and other police officials were performing exorcisms to snag drug traffickers.

He also expressed his opposition to abortion -- which is legal in Colombia, a secular South American nation with Catholic traditions -- and to the use of condoms. 

During the interview his office appeared cluttered with crucifixes, effigies of the Virgin Mary and other Catholic symbols. 

"I appreciate General Henry Sanabria's hard work" for the Colombian police, leftist President Gustavo Petro wrote on Twitter, without giving details about why he was removed from his post. 

A police official speaking on condition of anonymity to a local media outlet said Sanabria, who took over as chief in August 2022, has been urging his subordinates to attend religious retreats. 

Sanabria was recently implicated for negligence after a violent protest against an oil company in which two people died and 78 law enforcement officials were held hostage for days by protesters. 

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Forget the exorcism gossip, it sounds like this guy was bad at his job; unsanctioned exorcisms happen to be the final straw.

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