Drug traffickers opposing extradition to the United States claimed responsibility for killing the nation's attorney general Monday and warned that more bloodshed will come.
"We announce that we have executed Atty. Gen. Carlos Mauro Hoyos for the crime of treason against the fatherland. . . . You can inform that the war will go on," a group of traffickers calling themselves "the extraditables" said in a statement to local media.
Colombia's drug traffickers have repeatedly vowed to crush those who favor extraditing them to the United States for trial, where judges and juries are less likely to be intimidated or bribed than here.
Hoyos, considered one of the toughest government officials in the war against trafficking, had just spent a week in Medellin--a drug trade center--looking into last month's release from prison of reputed cocaine baron Jorge Luis Ochoa.
Hoyos' bullet-riddled corpse, handcuffed and blindfolded, was found near the spot where he was ambushed early Monday on his way to the Medellin airport, acting Atty. Gen. Ignacio Arboleda said.
It was not immediately clear if Hoyos was executed or died from wounds inflicted during the ambush by an estimated 10 gunmen using four vehicles. His two bodyguards were killed in the shoot-out.
Several hours after the ambush, police searching the hills around Medellin stumbled upon and freed unharmed a Bogota mayoral candidate kidnaped a week ago.
Andres Pastrana, the son of former President Misael Pastrana Borrero, said that his captors fled the farmhouse where he had been held as police approached.
In a message made public Sunday, drug traffickers under threat of extradition to the United States confirmed they had held Pastrana, 34, a lawyer and journalist.
Members of the Medellin Cartel have waged a bloody four-year war against efforts to prosecute them. Victims of some of the murders attributed to the cartel have included journalists, 21 judges handling drug cases and a justice minister. Hoyos is the highest justice official to die at the hands of drug traffickers since Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla was slain on a Bogota street in 1984.
U.S. officials say the Medellin Cartel controls three-quarters of the cocaine that enters the United States.
The United States claims that Ochoa, the released prisoner, is the second-in-command of the cartel and has sought to extradite him.
Hoyos had recently ordered an investigation of two judges and five officials over their suspected involvement in Ochoa's release on Dec. 31 after he served less than half of a 20-month sentence for illegally importing fighting bulls.