U.S. government issues new bounties against two FARC leaders with ties to Mexico

“MX” for Borderland Beat

The new bounty for both men is US$10 million, respectively
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Department of State announced new bounties for Luciano Marin Arango (“Ivan Marquez”) and Seuxis Paucias Hernández Solarte (“Jesus Santrich”), two leaders of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). They are offering US$10 million to anyone who provides valuable information that leads to their arrest and/or conviction.

Marin-Arango is a member of the FARC’s Secretariat, the highest leadership body of this guerrilla group. Hernández-Solarte is a member of the FARC’s Central High Command, the second-highest leadership body. They are both part of the faction that disavowed the 2016 Peace Accord with the Government of Colombia. Marin-Arango’s bounty was previously at US$5 million. According to the DEA, both men reportedly have ties with Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.
“DEA and our partners are committed to dismantling narco-terrorist organizations such as the FARC, and the corrupt political regimes that support them,” said Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea. “For decades, the FARC has used drug trafficking to finance their terrorist activities, and partnered with corrupt Venezuelan elites to threaten United States and our allies. We hope these increased rewards will encourage those with valuable information to contact the DEA and, ultimately, bring to justice those seeking to harm the United States and betray the citizens of Venezuela.”
Marin-Arango and Hernández-Solarte are reportedly partnered with the Cartel of the Suns (Spanish: Cártel de los Soles), a drug trafficking organization in Venezuela comprised of high-ranking government officials. This group is responsible for smuggling shipments of cocaine into the U.S.
On 26 March 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice issued charges against Marin-Arango and Hernández-Solarte, former Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, and 14 other high-ranking government officials.
The charges were the following: (1) participating in a narco-terrorism conspiracy; (2) conspiring to import cocaine into the United States; (3) using and carrying machine guns and destructive devices during and in relation to, and possessing machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the narco-terrorism and cocaine-importation conspiracies; and (4) conspiring to use and carry machine guns and destructive devices during and in relation to, and to possess machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the narco-terrorism and cocaine-importation conspiracies.

Profiles
Luciano Marin-Arango was born in Florencia, Colombia, on 6 June 1955. He has been a member of the FARC since 1985. In addition to the charges mentioned above, the U.S. government believes that Marin-Arango has trained Venezuelan militia members linked to the Cartel of the Suns in FARC camps in South America.

Since 2006, Marin-Arango has been a fugitive of the U.S. government after being indicted for drug trafficking by the U.S. Southern District of New York along with 50 other FARC members. He reportedly oversaw planes carrying between 600 to 1,200 kg of cocaine, as well as the receipt of money and weapons as payment. Marin-Arango set the FARC’s cocaine policies, which included its distribution to the U.S. and worldwide, the “taxation” of drug trade to raise funds for the FARC, and the murder of hundreds of people who violated the FARC’s drug policies.

In 2017, the FARC formally seized to exist after they signed a peace treaty with the Government of Colombia. However, several dissidents (including Marin-Arango) continued their “rebel fight” against the government. In August 2019, Marin-Arango and other members of the FARC announced that they were continuing their “armed struggle” in Colombia with a “new phase”.

Hernández-Solarte was born in Toluviejo, Colombia, on 30 July 1966. He has been a member of the FARC since 1991. In addition to the charges mentioned above (some which he shares with Marin-Arango), Hernández-Solarte was responsible for establishing a FARC camp near Apure, Venezuela, where their criminal group processed cocaine and arraigned multi-ton shipments of cocaine to the U.S. 

He has been a fugitive of the U.S. government since 2018 after he was indicted for drug trafficking by the U.S. Southern District of New York. The following year, he also announced with Marin-Arango that the FARC was continuing their “armed struggle” despite previous peace talks.

The investigation against these two FARC leaders is being headed by the DEA Miami Field Division.

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