Colombia's ambassador to Uruguay quits after drug lab discovered at his estate
Rio de Janeiro - The discovery of a drug laboratory at the country estate of the Colombian ambassador to Uruguay, Fernando Sanclemente, prompted his resignation on Monday.
Sanclemente handed in his resignation to Colombian President Ivan Duque on Monday after the Colombian Attorney General said in a television interview over the weekend that the diplomat was directly linked to the find, local media reported.
Police discovered the laboratory on the Sanclemente family property in Cundinamarca, 60 kilometres outside Bogota, in February. They reportedly set the lab on fire and arrested five people at the scene.
The lab was reportedly capable of producing at least 1 ton of cocaine a month for foreign markets, which was then exported via the El Dorado Airport in Bogota.
Sanclemente has consistently denied all wrongdoing and claims to have had no knowledge of the laboratory's existence. The Sanclemente family had since 1987 co-owned the country ranch, or finca, with the Spiwak family, which owns the Colombian hotel chain Dann, he said.
The diplomat said his brother is acting legal representative of the family's 50-per-cent share in the 170-hectare property. Since 2017, 40 per cent of the land had been leased for the cultivation of potatoes, onions and other agricultural products, he said.
Colombia is one of the world's biggest coca producers. With 169,000 hectares devoted to the controversial crop, the Latin American nation has the ability to produce 1,120 tons of cocaine a year, the United Nations said in 2018.dpa