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Nearly $1M recovered from drug cartel responsible for 1991 execution of Colombian U.N. Ambassador

February 24, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Nearly $1M recovered from drug cartel responsible for 1991 execution of Colombian U.N. Ambassador

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The son of a former U.N. Ambassador, who was tortured and executed by guerrilla combatants in Colombia, achieved a significant victory in his search for justice, recovering nearly $1 million from the cartel that murdered his father.

The Miami legal team representing Antonio Caballero revealed on Thursday that the money was recovered from the Los Zetas-linked Norte de Valle Cartel, which reportedly has associations with the narco-terrorist organizations FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN), for the killing of Carlos Caballero.

The bloody execution struck a nerve during the height of the drug war in Colombia in the 1990s.

In 1999, Caballero, who was a senator and president of Colombia’s Liberal Party, was abducted and held hostage for six months before he was killed by leftist guerrillas.

His family paid millions in ransom money, but the effort failed to save the life of Caballero. Authorities discovered his bullet-riddled body on a dirt road.

Since the politician’s killing and his family’s exile, his son, Antonio, and his team of lawyers had been on a mission to recover lost assets.

Caballero owned property in the Magdalena River Valley, which was a region heavily utilized by drug smugglers. The younger Caballero, who now lives in Florida, said his family was victimized because of his land.

Carlos Octavio Caballero Cormane was kidnapped, tortured and killed in 1999.

The 76-year-old businessman was also a vocal critic of rebel organizations.

In 2014, the Miami-Dade Circuit Court granted Caballero’s son a $191.4 million settlement and determined that FARC and ELN were working with the Norte de Valle drug cartel.

After the decision, Caballero’s son filed another suit to seize assets connected to the groups. Many experts said the effort would be difficult.

In an attempt to uncover a possible money trail, Caballero’s legal team issued subpoenas to some of South Florida’s major banks and received a hit.

Regions Bank identified a “blocked account” under the name of a currency-exchange company called Prodira Casa SA de CV, The Miami Herald reported.

Antonio Caballero (front center) holds an image of his parents as his lawyers Joseph Zumpano (left) and Leon Patricios (right), who recently recovered assets related to a $191 million judgment against an array of actors including Colombia’s FARC and Mexican cartels for Caballero on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. (Photo) Roberto Koltun Miami Herald

That money in the account was linked to a 2012 case, in which ICE agents seized $2 million in illicit drug cash from an armored truck business based in Pharr, Texas.

Caballero’s lawyers managed to ascertain that Prodira acted as a front for the ruthless Los Zetas Mexican cartel and part an overall network that provided Colombian guerrillas and drug traffickers the ability to smuggle narcotics into the United States.

In a historic triumph, Caballero’s son collected nearly $1 million from the cartel and the family hopes it’s just the beginning.

However, despite Caballero’s success, the family is still traumatized by the brutal murder.

“It’s not about the money,” Caballero, told the Herald. “This shows that lives cut short by violence aren’t forgotten … This has returned my faith in justice.”

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