BOGOTA – Colombian authorities extradited Washington Prado Alava on Saturday morning to the United States, where he is wanted for allegedly transporting more than 250 tons of cocaine to that country, Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
“With the arrangements of the AG’s office, Washington Prado Alava, alias ‘Gerard,’ also known as the Ecuadorian Pablo Escobar, was extradited to the United States,” the statement read.
“The (suspect) had attempted to enlist in the FARC to gain access to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP),” which is at the heart of the transitional justice component of the peace process signed in 2016 by the now-former rebel forces and the Colombian government.
Prado Alava was arrested on April 11, 2017, along with three of his closest associates: Ecuadorian Leonardo Adrian Vera, alias “Thiago,” and Colombians Robinson Alberto Castro, alias “Rocho,” and Diego Fernando Arizala, alias “Zorro.”
The suspect, “who is reputed to have a very high capacity for bribery,” was also wanted in Ecuador for the murder of several prosecutors, judges and police officers.
The Colombian AG’s office said Prado Alava was “considered to be one the most important capos in recent times” and had “become an important target for the United States.”
To avoid extradition, the Ecuadorian attempted to join the ranks of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group (which has since transformed itself into a political party) so as to be subject to the JEP.
The JEP comprises a series of courts tasked with investigating, clarifying and prosecuting human rights violations that occurred within the context of Colombia’s decades-old armed conflict. Those who fully comply with the JEP can be eligible for alternative sentencing such as landmine removal.
“Prado Alava, who had remained in Bogota’s La Picota prison since April 12, 2017, was escorted out in a security operation involving 50 commandos and agents” from Colombia’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Interpol, the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute and the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the statement said.