A retired Colombian police general who was head of presidential security during the 2002-2010 tenure of Alvaro Uribe was arrested Monday on suspicion of money laundering.
Gen. Flavio Buitrago has been under investigation for his connection to Marco Antonio Gil Garzon, alias "El Papero," who was convicted earlier this month of shipping large quantities of cocaine from the Colombian city of Medellin to Houston.
Buitrago acknowledged entering into a business and personal relationship with Gil in 1998, when he helped rescue El Papero's daughter from kidnappers.
Prosecutors say Buitrago cannot adequately explain the origin of 600 million pesos ($313,373) found in his bank accounts.
The defendant, however, insists he can prove the money was legally acquired.
"I am always prepared to respond to the authorities," Buitrago told reporters Monday prior to a court appearance. "I am subpoenaed, I come to a hearing, a procedure, with the evidence to demonstrate my innocence."
Buitrago was taken into custody following the hearing.
The general's wife, Elba Alieth Pulido, holds a 1 percent stake in Constructora America S.A., identified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a front company created by El Papero to launder money.
Another former security adviser to President Uribe, police Gen. Mauricio Santoyo was sentenced in December 2012 to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty in the United States to charges of aiding drug trafficking. EFE