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Bogota - A Colombian priest previously sentenced to 19 years in jail for being the leader of a criminal gang was arrested after a months-long search, the Colombian Attorney General's Office said Friday.

The Colombian public prosecutor's office said priest Oscar Ortiz, who had been convicted last year, was arrested in the town of La Virginia, in the central-western province of Risaralda.

The Army took part in the raid.

The High Court in Medellin sentenced Ortiz in August.

The former parish priest of a Roman Catholic church in San Antonio de Prado, on the outskirts of Medellin, was arrested in 2010 and eventually convicted in absentia of giving orders to a gang known as “Los desmovilizados de El Limonar” (the demobilized men of El Limonar).

Members of the gang, which engaged in kidnappings and extorsion, are mostly former members of an extreme-right paramilitary group that operated in that area of the province of Antioquia, of which Medellin is the capital.