A former guerrilla fighter who allegedly captured innocent civilians for the Colombian Army to kill and who were then reported as fallen combatants has been arrested in Alicante.
Luis Jhon Castro Ramirez, alias ‘el Zarco’, was arrested by agents of the Spanish National Police in the city of Alicante in the autonomous community of Valencia on 13th February.
Alicante is known for its 120-mile stretch of the Costa Blanca which is popular among British holidaymakers for its warm weather and beautiful Mediterranean coast.
The Spanish authorities captured Castro Ramirez thanks to international cooperation with the Colombia Police and INTERPOL, according to an official report released yesterday (15 February).
The authorities were able to track him through family ties which first linked him to A Coruna in the autonomous community of Galicia before finding him in the city of Alicante.
The videos show agents first following the suspect and then taking him into custody after arresting him.
The fugitive had an international arrest warrant and a pending sentence of 40 years in Colombia for his participation in the murders of four people in 2007.
He is also considered responsible for the deaths of six innocent civilians who were killed by the Colombian Army in the municipality of Coyaima, but were reported as armed guerrilla fighters, a practice known as ‘false positives’.
False positive is the local term for the vicious murders carried out by members of the Colombian Army on innocent civilians who were presented as guerrilla fighters.
The objective behind the killings was to present fake successes so the soldiers could receive different incentives, promotions, or days off.
It was first reported in the 1990s but cases peaked in the country between 2006 and 2009.
Castro Ramirez was also charged with capturing and delivering 14 people to the Colombian Army which later reported the innocent civilians as armed guerrilla fighters killed in combat.
He is thought to have carried out the crimes when he was a guerrilla fighter from the National Liberation Army (ELN) which is a Marxist-Leninist group that continues to fight in Colombia.
There have been no reports on the alleged arrangement between Castro Ramirez and the army.
The official statement read: “Among the charges he faces is for capturing and then delivering 14 youths to military units in [the Colombian departments of] Valle del Cauca and Tolima who were later killed and presented as fallen combatants.”
Colombian and Spanish authorities along with INTERPOL are continuing talks to plan for Castro Ramirez’s immediate extradition back to Colombia.