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Colombian Faces Terrorism Charges

MANHATTAN (CN) - A Colombian man faces federal charges of conspiring to support terrorism and to import thousands of kilos of cocaine into the United States. Daniel Rendon-Herrera is charged with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), a right-wing death squad network.

Rendon, aka Don Mario aka El Viejo aka El Tio aka La Senora, was captured by Colombian National Police on April 15. He led 5,000 armed AUC fighters who controlled parts of Colombia's Cordoba and Antioquia regions, prosecutors said.

The United States has designated the AUC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Allegedly formed to fight the leftist FARC, the AUC also assassinates peasants and union members and trafficks in cocaine.

The indictment states, "The AUC has carried out its political objectives through kidnappings, attacks against Colombian government, military, police and civilian targets, and the mass murder of civilians claimed by AUC to be FARC sympathizers."

Rendon's faction allegedly negotiated with leaders of drug cartels in Mexico to send shipments of cocaine in exchange for thousands of assault rifles.

Rendon allegedly ordered the kidnapping of 25 Colombian civilians and plotted to assassinate a high-ranking police official.

Co-defendant Jhon Jairo Rendon-Herrera, 40, allegedly assisted him.

Prosecutors say co-defendants Diego Rivas-Angel, 57, Dario Antonio Usuga-David, 37, and Juan De Dios Usaga-David, 41, provided logistical support.

The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted of the narcotics and conspiracy charge. Rendon faces up to 15 years on the charge of supporting a terrorist organization. He is in custody in Colombia under Colombian charges.

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