DEA Agents Pose as Guerrillas to Net Arms Trafficker

Faouzi Jaber, a 61-year-old Ivorian citizen, pleaded guilty this week in a case involving smuggling arms and drugs to Colombia’s FARC group. But the undercover tactics by U.S. agents raise questions about future drug-war strategies in Colombia.

A man from the Ivory Coast has pleaded guilty in a New York federal court to offering support to undercover DEA agents posing as members of Colombia‘s FARC guerrilla group.

The case involving Faouzi Jaber, a 61-year-old Ivorian citizen known by the alias “Excellence,” raises questions about the handling of similar operations in the future in light of the FARC‘s ongoing demobilization.

Faouzi Jaber. Photo courtesy InSight Crime

Jaber pleaded guilty on July 25 to conspiring to traffic arms and drugs in support of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) insurgency, which the United States considers a terrorist organization.

According to a press release from the U.S. prosecutor’s office, Jaber met multiple times with confidential sources working for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who were posing as members of the FARC.

In those meetings, Jaber introduced the confidential sources to drug and arms traffickers, and promised to help the guerrilla group obtain weapons, smuggle drugs in Africa and launder money.

Jaber was arrested in April 2014 by local authorities in the Czech Republic acting on a US request for his capture and extradition.

Jaber is not the first international arms trafficker brought down by DEA operatives pretending to be members of the FARC.

Perhaps the most infamous example is the 2008 arrest in Thailand of Viktor Bout, the so-called “Merchant of Death” who was later convicted in the United States of conspiring to sell arms to DEA sources posing as FARC fighters.

More recently, a Romanian-born man named Flaviu Georgescu was convicted in the United States of participating in a weapons trafficking conspiracy following a similar set-up.

Although the tactic of posing as the FARC has helped the DEA capture a number of suspected international criminals, the agency will almost certainly have to find a new group to impersonate in these types of stings. The FARC, one of the world’s oldest and most famous guerrilla groups, signed a peace deal with the Colombian government last year and recently handed over its weapons to the United Nations.

However, the fact that the FARC is now effectively defunct as a guerrilla organization does not mean that the DEA will stop using confidential sources posing as criminals to execute sting operations.

In fact, this tactic—which has been criticized as a form of entrapment— has become a staple of the DEA’s pursuit of so-called “narco-terrorism” cases in Latin America and abroad.

Mike LaSusa is editor of InSight Crime. The Crime Report is pleased to publish this story in collaboration with InSight Crime. For the complete version, including related links, please click here. Readers’ comments are welcomed.

from https://thecrimereport.org

New Decree Should Free Colombia’s FARC Prisoners

The Colombian government’s order should resolve a prison logjam that had become a threat to implementation of the nation’s peace accords. It is designed to pave the way for quick amnesties and pardons for thousands of members of the demobilizing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The Colombian government has issued a new decree to facilitate the release of incarcerated FARC guerrillas, removing an obstacle to the amnesty process that had become a threat to the implementation of Colombia’s peace accords, says InSight Crime. The Colombia Justice Ministry decree, issued last Friday, establishes the legal framework for suspending the judicial process and granting amnesties and pardons for the thousands of members of the demobilizing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The decree, which stands as a complement to last year’s amnesty law, stipulates that all cases must be processed within 10 days of a claim and established sanctions for judges that fail to do so.

The new decree also attempts to unravel the entangled legal situations of many FARC members. It states that FARC members convicted of certain crimes, some of which are not covered by the amnesty, will receive conditional freedom as long as they have already served at least five years in prison. Resolving the status of FARC prisoners had become a major stumbling block in implementing Colombia’s peace accords. The United Nations had condemned the Colombian government over its seemingly endless delays in releasing the prisoners.

from https://thecrimereport.org