EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Two alleged members of the National Liberation Army in Colombia are set to make an appearance in U.S. federal court, a first in criminal justice efforts against the the group.
Yamit Picon-Rodriguez, aka Choncha, and Henry Trigos-Celo, aka Moncho Picada, were extradited and landed in Houston on Thursday. The pair made initial appearances before federal judge Sam Sheldon on Friday.
“This is the first time believed members of the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional aka ELN) have been extradited to the United States in their nearly 60-year history to face both narco-terrorism and drug trafficking charges,” news release provided by the United State Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas said.
The ELN is a guerrilla group designated as a foreign terrorist organization. U.S. authorities gave the organization the designation in 1997. The ELN continues to operate as one of the largest narco-terrorism organizations in the world, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Last year, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Picon and Trigos and other individuals suspected of narco-terrorism.
Picon is charged with international cocaine distribution conspiracy along with five others. All six are charged “with distribution of a controlled substance and knowing or intending to provide anything of pecuniary value to a person or organization that engages in terrorism or terrorist activity (narco-terrorism).”