Story By: Ana Lacasa, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
The former Colombian congresswoman who broke out of a health clinic in a blonde wig after her arrest and fled on a motorbike has now been arrested in Venezuela.
Ex-congresswoman Aida Merlano was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to 15 years in prison months later for election fraud. She managed to escape her prison guard when at a scheduled dental appointment and climbed out of a window at a clinic in Bogota, the Colombian capital, in October.
The Colombian authorities had been searching for her since and she has now been arrested in the El Milagro area of the city of Maracaibo, in the northwestern Venezuelan state of Zulia.
The Director of Venezuela’s Special Forces of Police (a special elite police force created by President Nicolas Maduro in 2017), Miguel Dominguez, explained on social media that Merlano had entered the country “in an illegal way accompanied by a Colombian citizen without documents”.
According to reports, the members of the elite police knocked on the door of the house where the woman was found and she opened the door herself.
She was accompanied by a maid named in reports as Elsida Tubinez, whose nationality is unknown, and an unnamed man. All three were arrested and in the house blonde wings, documentation, mobile phones and a laptop were found.
Merlano and the man were “both taken to the authorities,” according to Dominguez.
The authorities are reportedly working to find out if the man is Yeico Manuel Vargas Silvera, who took Merlano’s belongings from her cell and allegedly waited for her outside the building where she escaped.
His identity has not yet been confirmed. She will reportedly be charged with entering Venezuela illegally.
No extradition requests have been reported from the Colombian government who do not have diplomatic ties with the Maduro regime.
Local media reported that the congresswoman is the key to an investigation into election corruption along Colombia’s Atlantic coast.
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