Wednesday 9 March 2016

Colombian police capture Buritica invasion ringmaster

Police in Colombia arrested Eduardo Otoya who is suspected of being one of the organizers behind criminal mining in Antioquia, including the invasion by thousands of illegal miners at the Buritica project of Continental Gold. Upon hearing of his arrest, President Juan Manuel Santos Tweeted “congratulations to [the police] for the decisive blow against criminal mining in Antioquia. Capturing Eduardo Otoya, alias ‘The Doctor’”. Otoya was vice president of corporate affairs for junior explorer Continental Gold from 2009 until July 2014, during which time thousands of illegal miners, mostly from the Segovia district, invaded the project. Otoya left the company for violating company policy, according to Continental Gold. The authorities said that Otoya took advantage of his position to obtained information about where Continental had discovered gold-bearing veins. The director general of the national police, Jorge Hernando Nieto Rojas, said Otoya had also been an associate of Diego Fernando Murillo, alias ‘Don Berna’, former head of the Envigado Office criminal gang who was extradited to the US, and had links to the Rastrojos criminal gang, reported Caracol Radio. He also formed a group dedicated to extortion of miners and the illegal mining of gold in Segovia and Buritica. Previously, Otoya worked in the Segovia region with Fiduagraia, a governmental organization undertaking the liquidation process of the bankrupt Frontino Gold Mines (FGM) company, and as general manager of FGM, paving the way for its eventual sale to Gran Colombia Gold. In addition to Otoya, the police arrested 14 other people including a former secretary of the Buritica government on charges of financing terrorism, organized crime, trafficking of firearms, illegal mineral exploitation and environmental contamination. ENDS