2012-02-27

“Comrade Artemio” to Be Tried for Terrorism, Drug Trafficking, and Money Laundering

Peruvian authorities maintain that they have sufficient evidence to try “Comrade Artemio” on drug-trafficking charges. In the photo, the guerrilla leader is transported to a police facility. (Photo: AFP/Peruvian Interior Ministry)

Peruvian authorities maintain that they have sufficient evidence to try “Comrade Artemio” on drug-trafficking charges. In the photo, the guerrilla leader is transported to a police facility. (Photo: AFP/Peruvian Interior Ministry)

AFP

The recently arrested head of one of the remnant factions of Shining Path, “Comrade Artemio,” could see a verdict as soon as August, since the cases against him on drug-trafficking and terrorism charges are being combined, the Peruvian Attorney-General’s Office estimated on February 23.

“By mid-year (…) there could be a verdict on terrorism, illicit drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges,” Peruvian Attorney-General José Peláez said.

Forty-seven-year-old Florindo Flores Hala, alias “Artemio,” could be sentenced to between 20 years and life in prison, according to Peruvian law.

“Artemio has admitted belonging to the Shining Path central committee and participating in criminal acts,” Peláez said without specifying the number of crimes of which he is accused. In addition, he specified that despite the fact that the guerrilla leader has not admitted participating in drug trafficking, there is sufficient evidence to charge him.

On February 23, the Shining Path leader was turned over to the anti-terrorism police, where he will remain in detention and under prosecutorial investigation for up to 15 days, as allowed by Peruvian law.

The guerrilla leader spent ten days in the hospital due to three bullet wounds he received during his arrest in Tocache, in northwestern Peru.

The judicial branch announced on February 15 that “Artemio” will have a single trial on the terrorism and drug-trafficking charges.

In the case of drug trafficking, the authorities have indicated that the case is based on his ties to groups of drug traffickers in the Peruvian jungle.

Shining Path, one of Latin America’s bloodiest guerrilla groups, was dismantled in the mid-1990s, and its chief leaders are serving prison sentences after an internal conflict that left around 70,000 dead, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The 1992 arrest of Abimael Guzmán, Shining Path’s founder and leader, marked the start of the Maoist group’s decline, but its remnants have subsisted in alliance with drug traffickers, according to the government.

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