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Colombia extradites FARC jailer to the U.S.

The Americas Post - Pirinolo has now switched roles from being the jailer to being the prisoner

Colombia on Friday extradited another guerrilla to the United States, on charges of holding three kidnapped Americans in the jungle  for over 5 years until they were rescued in 2008.

Alexander Beltrán Herrera, known as “Pirinolo”,  is the latest rebel from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) extradited to the U.S., that nation’s main ally  in the fight against drug trafficking and leftist insurgencies.

“The handover procedure in accord with an American indictment was endorsed both by the Supreme Court of Justice and its National Government,” said a statement from the Colombian National Police.

Colombian Supreme Court approval to extradite Beltran came after a change in court doctrine, which had previously refused to deliver other guerrillas involved in the same case on the grounds that that the kidnapping was committed in Colombia.

Beltran, 36, was captured by police in February 2011 in the Caribbean city of Cartagena, where he fled from the jungles of the south to avoid a military offensive against the guerrillas.

According to authorities in both Colombia and the United States, Beltran was one of the guerrillas who watched over Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves, captured in February 2003 in the department of Caquetá when their their anti-narcotics flight crash landed.

The three foreigners were rescued by the Army of Colombia in July 2008 along with former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and 11 Colombian soldiers held captive by the rebels.

Another guerrilla captured at the time of the rescue, Gerardo Antonio Aguilar, alias “César”, was extradited on drug charges.

Beltran’s extradition followed that of major FARC leaders like Ricardo Palmera, alias “Simon Trinidad” and Nayibe Rojas, alias “Sonia”, delivered in 2003 and 2004, respectively, on charges of drug trafficking.