Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia soldiers jailed over cash hidden in Farc camp

Map locator

A military court in Colombia has given jail sentences to 147 soldiers who found and kept about $20m (£13m) believed buried by rebel fighters.

The soldiers found the money packed in plastic bags during an operation in a deserted Farc rebel camp in April 2003.

They were found guilty of embezzlement. Their lawyers had argued that there had been no theft as it was not clear who owned the money.

The jail sentences ranged from eight months to five years.

At their trial, the court heard that the soldiers had known the money belonged to the Farc and that it had come from drug trafficking, kidnap ransom and extortion.

Instead of reporting the find, the judge said, the soldiers had decided to split it.

Many deserted with the cash and some went on spending sprees, which raised suspicions.

On Friday, the military court ordered the immediate capture of those still on the run.

The soldiers belonged to an anti-guerrilla battalion fighting members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) in the San Vicente de Caguan area.