Skip to comments.Narco-Terror (Oliver North)
Posted on 07/16/2009 9:07:55 PM PDT by jazusamo
BOGOTA He calls himself "Cesar," but his real name is Gerardo Aguilar Ramirez. As "comandante" of the 1st Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and one of the top 10 leaders of the hyper-violent FARC he has well-earned credentials as a drug-dealing terrorist with a penchant for trading in hostages. This Thursday, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents put Ramirez, aka Cesar, in shackles, marched him aboard an aircraft here in Bogota, and took him to the U.S. to stand trial for his crimes. Our Fox News' "War Stories" team was here to record the event and a whole lot more so that we can tell the story about the heroes who are waging and winning the shadowy fight against narco-terror.
That may not be a familiar term to most of us, but narco-terror is nothing new to the 5,300 special agents of the DEA or the allies they have made in 63 nations around the world. Here in Colombia, which is the source of half the world's cocaine, FARC thugs, such as Cesar, have made themselves "high-value targets" in the twilight struggle against illegal narcotics and terrorism. When he was arrested July 2, 2008, during a dramatic hostage rescue operation, Cesar was holding 15 hostages; among them were Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three American citizens.
Betancourt was taken hostage by the FARC Feb. 23, 2002, while she was campaigning for the Colombian presidency. The three American civilians were taken hostage Feb. 13, 2003, when their U.S. government drug-surveillance aircraft crash-landed in Colombia's southwestern Caqueta province not far from a FARC stronghold. Guerillas quickly surrounded the wrecked plane and proceeded to murder the American pilot, Tom Janis, and a Colombian intelligence specialist, Sgt. Luis Alcides Cruz. The remaining three Americans Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell were taken hostage and hauled off into the jungle. They were about to endure an absolutely horrific experience.
Efforts to find the missing Americans began immediately after their plane went down. Searchers found the wreckage and the bodies of the two dead crewmen within hours. More than a dozen members of the Colombian National Police and soldiers were killed and wounded as they searched for the hostages. A special U.S.-Colombian intelligence, military and police task force focused solely on the hostages was up and running in days. At a U.S.-controlled site, intelligence specialists were "surged" into Colombia to assist in finding the missing men. One senior intelligence officer told me this week: "We deployed every possible intelligence platform and expert available from every possible agency in this effort. It took longer than anyone wanted for it all to work."
Official and unofficial emissaries from the U.S., France, the European Union and the United Nations descended on the U.S. Embassy in Bogota to assist in bringing about the safe release of the Americans. Colombian President Alberto Uribe, whose father was murdered by the FARC, was pilloried in the domestic and international press for not doing enough to free the more than 1,000 Colombians held hostage by the FARC or to free Betancourt, who is a dual-national French-Colombian citizen.
A senior U.S. official here in Bogota told me this week: "Meeting with the families of those being held is always difficult for all involved. The hardest part is not being able to tell them everything we were doing to find them and rescue their loved ones."
For more than five years, Cesar tried to barter the hostages in exchange for the release of FARC terrorists jailed in the U.S. and Colombia, political concessions, the promise of safe havens, and even other hostages. Throughout the time they were held, all the hostages suffered excruciating privation hunger, lack of medical attention, exposure and physical abuse. Constantly moved from one FARC camp to another, they never knew whether they eventually would be released or killed.
Operation Jaque which rescued the three Americans, Betancourt and 11 Colombians, one of them held by the FARC for more than 10 years also netted Cesar and his "deputy comandante." It was a stunning success thanks to the close cooperation and relationships that had been forged by a host of U.S. government agencies and their Colombian counterparts.
The very fact that Cesar has been extradited to stand trial in the U.S. is a tribute to the work of thousands of selfless Americans and Colombians over the past two decades. But credit should be given where it's due. When Cesar was frog-walked across the tarmac at Reagan National Airport on Thursday night, he was "escorted" by U.S. DEA special agents.
It was Gerardo Aguilar Ramirez's first trip to the United States. Thanks to the DEA, he won't be visiting Disney World.
Thanks for the ping jaz.
I do not. If I hear of any coming up I’ll let you know.
I respect Ollie North because he walks the talk. He is now an old man, but has spent a ton of time in the war zone, where his life is on the line as much as the troops surrounding him. I pray that I can be so brave, if the time comes that it is required of me.
Manuel Zelaya allowed four planes to transit Honduran airports daily bearing FARC drugs.
FARC is aided and abetted by Hugo Chavez.
ali Hussein and Hugo Chavez championed the attempted coup by Zelaya.
Nancy Pelosi blocks the trade deal which would aid Colombia.
Ramos and Compean were interfering with the free flow of drugs at market prices--or rather the profits of the cartels and their U.S. government allies.
Former U.S. Customs officer John Carman (formerly customscorruption.com) was framed and jailed in 2007 for being a whistleblower re collusion of corrupt U.S. officials with the narcotics trafficking.
In Reed's Compromised Clinton helpfully explains that the smuggled coke is "Lasater's" a crony Clinton subsequently pardoned.
Barack "Little Blow" Obama sides with smuggler Zelaya.
And Johnny Sutton? What was his interest in immunizing Aldrete-Davila who did the 700-lb and 1,000-lb runs we know about.
And former Customs officer Darlene Fitzgerald found thousands of pounds of marijuana and kilo on kilo of cocaine in Mexican tanker rail cars--and was thereupon blocked and undercut by U.S. officials.
Well said! He has spent much time convering Iraq and Afghanistan an has taken chances and a had a couple close calls.
When he’s with the troops it shows on his face that he genuinely enjoys being there with them, he is a true patriot.
Thanks for your excellent post, Phil.
It’s criminal the way Pelosi, Reid and now Zer0 have treated President Uribe and Colombia. They are our closest and best ally in South America.
Yup, just a natural born warrior, and he cain't heppit. We need more of them.