BOGOTA – A former head of Colombia’s now-defunct DAS security agency was arrested Wednesday on charges he was involved in the 1989 assassination of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan.
Agents went to the Bogota home of retired Gen. Miguel Maza Marquez just hours after Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre said the one-time spy chief was to be held pending trial.
This is the third time Maza has been taken into custody in connection with the killings of Galan, one of the candidate’s bodyguards and a city councilman.
Prosecutors say that Maza, in his then-capacity as DAS director, reduced the size of Galan’s security detail just hours before the presidential hopeful was slain on Aug. 18, 1989, at a campaign rally in the Bogota suburb of Soacha.
The most recent prior attempt to prosecute Maza was derailed in January 2012 by the Colombian Supreme Court, which said the retired general enjoyed immunity for actions he took while head of DAS.
Former fighters with the demobilized AUC paramilitary federation have said in sworn statements that Maza played a key role in Galan’s murder.
The assassination is thought to have been carried out at the instigation of politicians and drug kingpins, among them former Sen. Alberto Santofimio Botero and late Medellin cartel boss Pablo Escobar.
Galan, a would-be reformer who promised a hard line against drug cartels, was the favorite in the 1990 presidential election; his campaign manager, Cesar Gaviria, ultimately won the contest.