“Sonia” Found Guilty of Trafficking Drugs to United States
By Dialogo March 12, 2012
On March 6, Anayibe Rojas Valderrama, known as “Sonia,” a member of the FARC guerrilla group, and two other Colombian citizens were found guilty of trafficking drugs to the United States, sources at a Washington, D.C., district court informed AFP.
This is the first time that a defendant suspected of FARC membership has been found guilty in a U.S. court.
The 12 jurors who heard the case at a court in the District of Colombia, the U.S. capital, unanimously found Sonia, Jose Antonio Celis (alias “Calvo” [Bald]), and Juan Diego Giraldo (alias “Flaco” [Thin]) guilty of conspiracy to import and sell cocaine in the United States, by way of what the prosecutor’s office described as a “Panamanian connection.”
According to judicial sources, sentencing is expected to be on May 4.
Sources close to the case indicated that the penalty “Sonia” could receive for the charges against her ranges between 10 and 30 years in prison.
The case also included a fourth defendant, José Benito Cabrera Cuevas (alias “Fabián Ramírez”), the only one of the defendants not in the power of the U.S. authorities.
Celis, who is not suspected of being a member of the FARC, was described by prosecutors as responsible for trafficking the drugs by way of Panama, and Giraldo, also not a member of the rebel group, was described as an intermediary between the drug traffickers and the cocaine producers.
The prosecutor’s office characterized “Sonia” as one of the leaders of Front 14 of the Southern Bloc of the FARC, which it described as Colombia’s leading guerrilla group, and stated that the proceeds from the drug trafficking of which she was accused were used to buy merchandise for the guerrilla group.
Prosecutors in a Washington, D.C. district court also described “Sonia” as the “administrator” of the drug-shipment operations of Front 14 of the Southern Bloc of the FARC.