MEXICO CITY – Mexican authorities arrested and expelled a presumed member of a Colombian guerrilla group’s “international front” for violating immigration laws, an official said.
The official said Miguel Angel Beltran, alias “Cienfuegos,” was expelled rather than deported (implying legal proceedings) to Colombia and that the action was taken Friday after the presumed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, leader went to an immigration office in Mexico City to extend his stay in the country.
“Due to his non-compliance with immigration requirements he was expelled,” said the official, who did not specify whether Beltran’s expulsion to Colombia was related to an Interpol Red Notice issued for the suspect nor how long he had been in Mexico.
Mexico’s National Migration Institute, or INM, has not issued any statement regarding the removal of Beltran from the country.
Meanwhile, the chief of Colombia’s National Police, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, said Friday in Bogota that Beltran’s arrest was made possible by information obtained on the computers of Raul Reyes, a member of the FARC’s top command who was killed in March 2008 in a cross-border strike by Colombia’s U.S.-backed military into Ecuadorian territory.
Four Mexican university students were among the more than two dozen people killed in the attack. The Colombian government claims they were receiving terrorist training, although one of the students who survived said they were there conducting research on rebel movements.
Naranjo said Beltran, who allegedly was a close adviser to Reyes, is wanted in Colombia on charges of criminal conspiracy for terrorist ends.
The police chief added that the suspect has “a quite sophisticated terrorist profile,” belonged to academic groups in Mexico, worked as a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, and ended up being an adviser to the FARC’s top command, or secretariat.
Beltran, who was flown to Colombia Friday night, used false papers to work as a professor at UNAM and was the author of several editorials published on the Web page of Anncol, a FARC news agency, Naranjo said.
The general added that evidence has been found linking Beltran with Mexican citizen Lucia Morett, an UNAM student who survived the attack on the clandestine FARC camp in Ecuador and has registered with electoral authorities as a candidate in Mexico’s July 5 legislative elections.
The FARC, which has fought a decades-old armed struggle against a succession of Colombian governments but has been weakened in recent years, is labeled a terrorist group by Colombia, the United States and the European Union.