The first drug trafficker to accept the Colombian government's surrender offer is a small-time trafficker who fled the United States while out on bail for drug charges, according to an interview published Saturday.
However, El Tiempo newspaper said neither Colombian authorities nor the Drug Enforcement Administration had a criminal record for the man, Gonzalo Rincon Perez.Rincon surrendered to a judge in the town of Pereira Thursday, becoming the first person to accept President Cesar Gaviria's offer to waive extradition and cut jail terms for drug traffickers who turned themselves in.
Government officials said they were pleased with the surrender.
But Rincon, interviewed by El Tiempo in prison, said he had acted alone and did not belong to any of Colombia's cocaine cartels.
Rincon said he was arrested in New York last March with a small quantity of cocaine and charged with conspiracy and possession. After paying bail, he slipped out of the United States illegally and made his way back to Colombia.