Bolivia To Collaborate with U.S. on Case of Former Police Chief Turned Drug Trafficker
By Dialogo March 03, 2011
Bolivia will both seek assistance from and offer assistance to the United States in the investigation of a gang of traffickers led by a former director of the Bolivian anti-drug effort and former police intelligence chief, detained in Panama and extradited to the United States, an official source said on 1 March.
“It’s worth cross-referencing information to verify the data; we’re going to exhaust all possibilities via the judicial route, via the diplomatic route,” Vice Minister of Social Defense Felipe Cáceres, the chief political figure responsible for the fight against drugs, indicated at a press conference.
The minister affirmed that he will exhaust all efforts to clarify the situation of René Sanabria, a retired general and up to now the director of an intelligence office, who is a “leader of this network of police officers (engaged in trafficking) on an international scale.”
Sanabria was detained the last week of February in Panama and subsequently extradited by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to the United States, where a judge in Miami issued an international arrest warrant for the Bolivian police officer in December, on charges of selling drugs, and subsequently issued an indictment.
Cáceres specified that as part of an information exchange, information just recently arrived at the Interior Ministry from the United States linking the former anti-narcotics head – in President Evo Morales’s current administration – with sales of cocaine, as well as the international arrest warrant.
Right before his arrest, General Sanabria led an “intelligence and counterintelligence” unit in the fight against drug trafficking: the Intelligence and Information Generation Center (CIGEIN), dismantled following the police chief’s detention.
Bolivia expelled the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency at the end of 2008, accusing the agency of supporting a supposed right-wing plot against President Morales, although the White House denied the allegations.