Colombian man extradited to US to face narco-terrorism case

NEW YORK (AP) — A Colombian man was brought to New York to face charges Friday that he tried to broker deals for weapons with known drug dealing terrorist groups and hoped to murder a U.S. agent as a trophy.

Carlos Fernando Melo, 58, was expected to appear in Manhattan federal court to face narco-terrorism, firearms and drug trafficking charges. It was not immediately clear who will represent him in court.

Authorities said he was arrested by Colombian authorities on April 20 at the request of the United States. They said Melo didn’t realize that the individuals he thought were arms traffickers were actually U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration confidential sources.

In court documents, authorities said Melo from September 2019 to December 2019 tried to buy explosives and firearms, including machine guns, from individuals he believed to be arms traffickers for use by two organizations then designated by the Department of State as Foreign Terrorist Organizations: the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (“FARC”) and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (“ELN”).

In a release, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Melo tried to make deals involving machine guns with known narco-terrorist organizations and hoped to murder “a DEA agent abroad as a ‘trophy.’”

“Melo’s extradition today ensures that he’ll be held accountable on U.S. soil for allegedly targeting DEA Special Agents committed to fighting the illicit drug trade,” Williams said.

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said the extradition met the DEA central mission of “targeting the most dangerous, most ruthless drug-traffickers who threaten our communities for their own profit.”

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