DEA DIRECTOR ANNOUNCES ARREST OF FARC MEMBER
DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson today announced the arrest of Carlos Bolas, a Colombian national and a leader of the Colombian narco-terrorist group, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia (FARC), for drug trafficking. On June 19, 2002, DEA agents transported Bolas to the Washington D.C. area where he will be arraigned in U.S. District Court.
DEA obtained custody of Bolas on June 18, 2002, after Suriname authorities arrested him for immigration violations when it was determined he was using a false Peruvian passport. Bolas appeared before a magistrate in Suriname, and knowing that he was wanted in the U.S. on drug trafficking charges, Surinamese authorities expelled him and turned him over to DEA.
"This arrest takes our fight against narco-terrorism to a new level. For the first time we have not only indicted a member of a terrorist organization involved in drug trafficking, but we have also arrested him. This means that narco-terrorists will be held accountable to the justice system and to the rule of law in both the United States and Colombia," said DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson.
In March 2002, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted Bolas, other FARC members Tomas Molina Caracas and John Doe (aka Oscar "El Negro") and four others for conspiring to manufacture and import cocaine into the United States. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by the Bogota and Brasilia offices of the DEA in conjunction with the Government of Colombia, as well as attorneys from the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Division of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.
The indictment alleges that, starting in 1994, Carlos Bolas and his associates were leaders of a cocaine trafficking ring centered in Barranco Minas, Colombia, that manufactured and sold cocaine to international drug traffickers in exchange for money, weapons, and equipment for the FARC. As he indicated in March, Attorney General John Ashcroft said, "the indictment marks the convergence of two of the top priorities of this Department of Justice - the prevention of terrorism and the reduction of illegal drug use - in a single act of justice."
The U.S. State Department has called the FARC the most dangerous international terrorist group based in the Western Hemisphere. Since 1980, the FARC has murdered 13 U.S. citizens and kidnapped over 100 more, including 3 U.S. missionaries, kidnapped in 1993, who are now believed dead.
DEA wishes to thank the Government of Suriname and the U.S. Department of State for their outstanding cooperation in this effort. The Surinamese authorities conducted first-rate law enforcement work which lead to the arrest of this notorious terrorist and drug trafficker.
For more information, please call DEA's Office of Public Affairs at (202) 307-7977.