Colombia jails ex-rebel on US drug warrant in blow to peace

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Colombia jails ex-rebel on US drug warrant in blow to peace
FILE - In this March 11, 2013 file photo, Jesus Santrich, member of the negotiating team for Colombia's Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), speaks to journalists at the continuation of peace talks with Colombia's government in Havana, Cuba. The former leader of Colombia’s disbanded rebel army has been arrested, according to former FARC members and the chief prosecutor’s office on Monday, April 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes, File)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia’s peace process has been rocked by the surprise arrest of a former top leader of the disbanded FARC rebel army on charges of trying to smuggle several tons of cocaine into the U.S.

Monday’s arrest of Seuxis Hernandez played into fears among many Colombians that the former guerrillas haven’t cut ties to the country’s flourishing criminal underworld.

It also triggered an exchange of angry recriminations between conservative critics of the peace process and supporters of the disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

President Juan Manuel Santos defended the arrest on a U.S. warrant as necessary to maintain the credibility of the peace accord, which Colombians overwhelmingly consider too generous to rebels responsible for atrocities during five decades of civil conflict.