Lion used for debt recovery seized in Colombia

March 15th, 2009 - 4:11 am ICT by IANS  

Bogota, March 15 (IANS) A lion used by an ex-militia chief to threaten people for the recovery of old debts was seized from a cattle farm in northwestern Colombia, EFE reported.
The local residents claim that the big cat was used by Mario Jimenez’s men to threaten people to pay up their old debts.

In a crackdown on drug traffickers Friday, the Colombian police seized the big cat and various other assets owned by the ex-militias in northwestern Antioquia and Cordoba provinces, the report said Saturday.

Jimenez was extradited to the US in May 2008 to face trial on various charges, including drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorism.

Colombia’s ex-militia men were once used by the government to fight the country’s largest leftist guerilla group the Revoloutionary Armed Froces of Colombia (FARC).

Several of the ex-militias later joined the illegal drug trade after the authorities disbanded the group under a government rehabilitation scheme.

Police chief General Oscar Naranjo said some 2,000 security personnel were deployed in the areas for the latest operation. Seventy people involved in the drug trade were arrested and around 1,176 hectares of coca plants were destroyed in the operation, he said.

Properties worth millions of pesos were seized in the raids, the police said in a statement.

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