Former Guatemalan President Part Of Infamous Extradition Fraternity
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When the former president of Guatemala, Alfonso Portillo, gets extradited he will join an infamous fraternity of Latin American figures whisked away for criminal prosecution in the United States or Europe.
Portillo is wanted in the U.S. on charges of embezzlement and using U.S. bank accounts to launder millions of dollars in public funds from his country, according to BBC News.
His extradition was authorized by current president Alvaro Colom. Portillo allegedly laundered money related to the embezzlement of $1.5 million in foreign donation.
Portillo, president from 2000 to 2004, is accused of laundering the money through U.S. banks. He has repeatedly denied the accusations, CNN reported.
The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala welcomed the court decision permitting the extradition last August. "We applaud the efforts made by the Constitutional Court, the Attorney General's Office and the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala," the embassy said in a statement according to CNN. "This sends a strong message that nobody is above the law."
Portillo joins a long list of Latin American politicians and rebel leaders extradited to the U.S. and Europe. Some were charged with money laundering, others with drug trafficking and human rights abuses.
Check out some others:
Guatemala's former President Alfonso Portillo arrives to court in Guatemala City, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. Portillo is required to appear in court once a month until his possible extradition to the U.S., and on Monday the country's top court confirmed Portillo will be extradited to the U.S. where he will face charges of conspiracy to launder money. His date of extradition was not announced. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
Former Panamanian general Manuel Noriega was extradited to France in 2010 on charges of money laundering. Noriega was first convicted on drug trafficking charges in the U.S. and sentenced to to 30 years in prison in 1992. In April 2010, he was sent to France after the U.S. State Department authorized his extradition. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison in July 2010 by a French judge, <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/n/manuel_antonio_noriega/index.html" target="_hplink">according to the NYTimes.</a> Noriega was Panama's longtime intelligence chief before taking power in 1982. He had been considered a valued CIA asset for years, but as a dictator he joined forces with drug traffickers and was implicated in the death of a political opponent. The French claimed Noriega laundered some $3 million in drug proceeds by purchasing luxury apartments in Paris, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/26/manuel-noriega-to-be-extr_n_552640.html" target="_hplink">according to HuffPost.</a>
Inocente Orlando Montano
FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2011 file photo, Inocente Orlando Montano, a former Salvadoran military officer, arrives at federal court in Boston. Montano, accused of colluding in the 1989 slayings of six Jesuit priests, admitted Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 in federal court in Boston that he lied to U.S. immigration officials, a guilty plea that could allow him to be extradited to Spain for prosecution in the killings. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
The late Chilean general Augusto Pinochet was captured in London where he had traveled for medical treatment. On October 1999, he was extradited to Spain to stand trial for torture and human rights charges, <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/468589.stm" target="_hplink">according to BBC news. </a> Human rights groups hailed the decision. Some of Pinochet's most gruesome crimes were said to be have come during "The Caravan of Death", <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/850932.stm" target="_hplink"> where prisoners who had voluntarily turned themselves in were taken from their cells and summarily executed, often without the knowledge or consent of the local military authorities.</a> Pinochet was under house arrest because of his deteriorating health. He died in December 2006.
This image provided by the DEA shows Eduardo Arellano-Felix in the process of being extradited to the United States from Mexico Friday Aug. 31, 2012. Arellano-Felix will face U.S. charges of racketeering, money laundering and narcotics trafficking. Arellano-Felix was arrested by Mexican authorities in Tijuana, Mexico, on Oct. 25, 2008, following a gun battle with a Mexican authorities. (AP Photo/DEA)
Mario Cardenas Guillen
A Mexican Navy officer stands next to Mario Cardenas Guillen, also known as "El Gordo" and "M-1," during his presentation to the media in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. Authorities says Cardenas Guillen, a top leader of the Gulf drug cartel, is the brother of Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who led the cartel until he was detained in 2003. Osiel Cardenas was extradited in 2007 to the United States and sentenced to 25 years in prison. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)
FILE - In this April 14, 2012 file photo, police escort Ramon Quintero, a suspected Colombian drug trafficker, as he arrives to Bogota after being deported from Ecuador. Quintero, who is awaiting sentencing in a Miami Federal court, confessed on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 to a charge of conspiracy to import cocaine from Colombia into the U.S. Quintero was extradited to the U.S. in Dec. 2011. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)
The former Guatemalan president during a hearing in court on May 9, 2011 in Guatemala City. A court acquitted Portillo and two former ministers of allegedly diverting $15 million in an embezzlement scheme involving the Ministry of Defense. Prosecutors in New York accused Portillo of using U.S. bank accounts to launder millions of dollars in public funds, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-15750420" target="_hplink">according to BBC. </a>
Juvenal Ovidio Ricardo Palmera Pineda, aka Simon Trinidad, one of the highest ranking officials of the FARC, or Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia was captured in Jan. 2004. In the 1980s, Trinidad was a respected banker in the city of Valledupar, Colombia. He managed the bank accounts of important Colombian figures, he owned a luxury apartment and his kids attended the best private school, <a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/farc/farc-capturado-simon-trinidad.htm" target="_hplink">according to Latin American Studies. </a> In 1987, however, Trinidad decided to join the Northern Caribbean Bloc of FARC. He handled the group's finances. He was captured in Quito, Ecuador in 2004 and <a href="http://www.eluniverso.com/2004/11/06/0001/14/60DC93AD358E473584B1201B8AAB3571.html" target="_hplink">was authorized for extradition in November 2004. </a> One of the first ranking guerrilla members to captured, Trinidad is serving a 60-year sentence in the United States.
Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, aka Jorge 40, was the leader of the Northern Bloc of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia), a murderous, right-wing paramilitary group in Colombia. He demobilized with his two thousand men on March 10, 2006. In 2008, the Colombian government took <a href="http://www.justiceforcolombia.org/news/article/354/human-rights-experts-condemn-extradition-of-paramilitary-leaders" target="_hplink">Jorge 40 and 13 other paramilitary leaders from there jail cells</a>. They were extradited to the U.S.
Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela
Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, former founder and leader of the <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/business/inside/colombian.html" target="_hplink">Medellin Cartel</a> was captured in 1995 and held in a Colombian prison. Rodriguez Orejuela was extradited to U.S. in March of 2005 after former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe signed an executive order. The cartel boss was charged alongside his brother, Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela,<a href="http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v04/n1748/a02.html" target="_hplink"> for running a drug network that produced 80 percent of the cocaine entering the U.S. during the 1990s. </a> <a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/colombia/orejuela.htm" target="_hplink">In a federal indictment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, officials charged that the Rodríguez Orejuela brothers, even from prison, wielded enormous influence, running a money-laundering operation to hide $2.1 billion in drug revenue. </a>