In mid-June, the media in Colombia and the world spoke again about Carlos Lehder Rivas, the eccentric capo born in Armenia (Quindío) who forged the Medellín cartel with Pablo Escobar, one of the most ruthless in the history of drug trafficking.
On that occasion, however, the news was his freedom, because, after serving a 33-year sentence for drug trafficking in the United States, a country to which he was extradited on February 4, 1987, Lehder, who is 71 years old today, was welcomed in Berlin (Germany) by a non-profit organization that supports ex-convicts.
Thus, the former, who went down in history as the first Colombian drug trafficker extradited to the United States, arrived in Frankfurt on a commercial flight from New York, with a passport that identified him as a German citizen and with the guarantee of being a fully man. free without pending accounts with the justice of that country.
Since then very little is known about his new life. In fact, his whereabouts in Germany are not certain and it is said that, by his own decision, he tries to stay out of the public eye.
However, the Spanish newspaper The vanguard He recently communicated by phone with Óscar Arroyave, Lehder’s lawyer, who spoke from Miami about the current status of the former drug trafficker.
“He has already canceled the bill,” Arroyave told that media in relation to the fulfillment of his client’s sentence. “Mr. Lehder wants to live quietly, in the company of his family and eager to meet his new grandchildren”added.
His statements are important, because, as mentioned by that medium, Arroyave and María del Mar Lehder, daughter of the former, are the only people who, from the United States, maintain frequent contact with the former partner of Pablo Escobar.
Lehder wouldn’t be sick
This is the second time that direct and, arguably, reliable information has been known about the former drug trafficker since he regained his freedom.
The first was last August, when Lehder himself granted what, to date, is his only interview since his arrival in Germany. At that time, the former held a brief dialogue via WhatsApp with the Colombian portal Los Juanes and gave details of his state of health and his relationship with his family in Colombia.
According to that portal, Lehder assured that his health is “perfect” and denied that he suffers from a disease terminal, contradicting what his daughter Monica has pointed out, who has told the media several times that her father has cancer and that precisely this was one of the reasons why he moved to Germany, because there he could advance medical treatment.
(You may be interested in: The strings that move for Lehder to reveal Escobar’s secrets)
The expo, however, was emphatic in that he has never authorized his daughter to grant interviews to the media or issue any kind of public statement on his behalf. Even in said interview, Ledher assures that it is explicitly prohibited. “But she doesn’t want to obey,” he said.
Regarding the relationship he has with his family, he added that for years he has not had any type of communication with his daughter Monica or with her mother, Liliana García.
As it transpired at the time, Lehder’s move to Germany dates back to his family history, since The former drug trafficker is the son of a German citizen (Joseph Willhelm Lehder) and a Colombian woman (Liliana García), so he retains dual citizenship.
But the reasons go further. His lawyer, Óscar Arroyave, explained to The vanguard that, “upon his release, (Lehder) could choose to go to one of the two countries of which he has nationality, and he preferred Germany.”
According to that media, citing statements from the lawyer, the former “He preferred to travel to Europe than to return to Colombia for a question of quality of life, although his native country did not have charges against him at the time”.
In this regard, it should be remembered that, when the news of his freedom was known, Arroyave himself told the BBC that “Carlos has a few euros saved in Germany and he knows that his quality of life will be better there than in Colombia.”
But the lawyer, recognized in international extradition and drug trafficking cases and who handles the cases of other high-profile criminals such as Salvatore Mancuso and Diego Murillo Bejarano, alias Don Berna, refrained from giving details of Lehder’s day-to-day life.
“He is trying to enjoy his family and his life,” he said, without clarifying who the former lives with or where he is in Germany.
Yes, The vanguard claims that some versions indicate that one or two of his brothers would also be residing in that country.
You are trying to enjoy your family and your life
His criminal life
Carlos Lehder, who had sentences in Colombia of more than 30 years in prison, was sentenced in 1988 in the United States to life imprisonment, but reached a collaboration agreement in August 1991 and became a witness against the Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega.
This entailed benefits such as transfer to a lower security prison where he could access visits and time in the open air. In addition, it obtained a reduction of the sentence.
Four years ago, the former asked the Colombian state to allow him a life in freedom after serving a sentence that had him isolated, without visits and without calls for most of the sentence. But his request was not accepted.
In the 1970s, Lehder led a network for the sale and smuggling of stolen cars in the United States that landed him in jail in Connecticut. In 1975, once released, he began trafficking marijuana and cocaine.
Years later, he allied with Pablo Escobar, giving the incipient Medellín Cartel the knowledge necessary to enter and traffic in the United States. And, in the 1980s, he founded a newspaper and set up a country hotel called The German Inn, which featured two caged lions and a life-size statue of naked John Lennon.