December 9, 2013
‘Unregistered’ substancesFriday, September 13, 2013
New findings in Córdoba police drug scandal
The arrest of the head of Córdoba’s anti-drug trafficking police unit put Governor José Manuel de la Sota in the eye of the storm, with Kirchnerites and opposition leaders demanding he remove the provincial police chief and Security minister. For their part, some low-level allies quietly pointed the finger at the national government for what has now become a full-fledged scandal.
Córdoba’s federal Prosecutor Enrique Senestrari said yesterday that “unregistered drugs” were found during a raid carried out at the anti-drug trafficking headquarters. Earlier, police chief Rafael Sosa and officers Alfredo Saine, Franco Argüe-llo, Fabián Peralta Dáttoli and Mario Osorio were arrested.
A day after Sosa and the other police officers handed themselves in and judge Ricardo Bustos Fierro decided to keep them in custody due to a report by a police whistleblower, Juan Francisco Viarnes, who had been arrested on an unrelated crime.
All of the arrested police officers are accused of conspiracy.
“There were drugs in the Anti-Drug Division in absolutely illegal conditions, which makes us think that they had those drugs to implicate people with crimes,” the prosecutor, Senestrari, said.
“They also had guns with their numbers scratched off in the office, not in a separate room,” the prosecutor who on Wednesday led the raid at the police headquarters with the Airport Security Police (PSA) added.
Meanwhile, Sosa accused the prosecutor of violating judicial secrecy and for dereliction of duty.
“The time to talk is getting closer and I’ll tell my truth,” the arrested police chief cryptically said yesterday. Senestrari is also investigating Sosa’s role in businessman Eugenio Viano’s kidnapping.
Meanwhile, the provincial government is trying to avoid the political scandal that has now fallen on its lap. De la Sota’s Cabinet Chief Oscar González yesterday said that judges should continue with the investigation.
For their part, Kirchnerite and opposition leaders requested the dismissal of the provincial Security minister Alejo Paredes and the police chief Ramón Frías, González said that both will remain in their positions.
“Presumption of innocence is valid until the courts say otherwise,” González said to avoid further questions.
De la Sota declined to comment on the controversy. But Sergio Busso, the leader of De la Sota’s Union for Córdoba (UPC) bloc in the provincial Legislature, said the raid and arrest were a manoeuvre plotted by the national government and also blamed Attorney General Alejandra Gils Carbó.
González added that there are “questionable elements” to the raids, saying “there are prosecutors who first appear before cameras instead of carrying out the raids.” He also said that the drug the prosecutor had said was unclassified was actually used “to train police dogs.”
A dealer police?
Senator Luis Juez yesterday said that the raids confirmed the existence of a “dealer police force” in the province.
“Police forces are linked to drug trafficking, which is also linked to the political authorities,” Juez told a radio station.
Socialist provincial lawmaker Roberto Birri yesterday agreed with Juez and in conversations with a radio station said that Córdoba was going through an “institutional crisis.” According to Birri, De la Sota is not, in fact, in control of the provincial police and the Socialist congressman said that the security force should be reformed.
“Federal courts should take part independently, without any interference from police chiefs or government officials,” Kirchnerite front Unidos y Organizados yesterday said yesterday.
Herald with Télam, DyN, Online media