December 4, 2013
Police chief also outSaturday, September 14, 2013
Córdoba security minister resigns
Córdoba province Security Minister, Alejo Paredes, and the provincial police chief, along with his deputy chief, resigned yesterday after a police drug-related scandal broke out involving the arrest of five officers on suspicion of being linked to trafficking.
Córdoba Government Minister Oscar González was temporarily appointed in charge of the Security portfolio.
At press time, Córdoba Governor José Manuel de la Sota was considering whether to accept the resignations while local media said they were irrevocable.
In his letter of regisnation, Córdoba Police Chief Ramón Frías said that “events surrounding the court investigation are being reported to involve all police institution.” Therefore, his decision to step down is meant to “protect” the police force and “not allow for this case to damage the government”.
All the arrested police officers belonged to the Government Office Against Drug Trafficking of the Córdoba police, including its Department Chief, Rafael Sosa. Other detainees include Franco Argüello, Fabián D’Attoli, Mario Osorio and Alfredo Saine.
“Córdoba is turning into the biggest cocaine kitchen in Argentina. It’s been years since we have seen this level of violence in the province due to its growing presence in Córdoba City’s poorer neighbourhoods,” said the opposition centre-left Senator Luis Juez, adding that the drug business is increasingly used to finance politicians. “When your campaign is supported by drug lords, when you negotiate with crime syndicates, then you can’t escape from that place and it’s easier to look the other way,” said Juez.
Córdoba Federal Prosecutor Enrique Senestrari meanwhile promised to investigate to the very end regardless of what interests might be affected. The prosecutor said that drug trafficking was also a problem nationwide.
“I’ll continue investigating because it’s my duty and I am excellently paid for following this through. If not, I should resign and let some one else try with the necessary courage,” Senestrari added, speaking with the same radio station.
He also ruled out feeling affected by De la Sota’s doubts on how the Public Ministry works and his criticism of National General Prosecutor Alejandra Gils Carbó’s alleged political interests in this case.
“I don’t get involved in politics if that means taking a partisan stand. I don’t have any contacts with any national government official for carrying out this investigation. The only communication I had with Gils Carbó was when she asked me if I needed anything, specially after Córdoba provincial government’s statements about us,” said Senestrari.
The suspected involvement of policemen in drug trafficking was publicly revealed last week after an undercover police informant named Juan Francisco “El Francés” Viarnes denounced them on a show.
After listening to Viarnes’ testimony, Senestrari decided to boost an investigation he was already heading. In front of the cameras, Viarnes alleged that police chiefs were linked to drug lords and gave them information in return for being allowed to keep oart of the drugs seized in raids.
— Herald staff with Telam