Officials Release Crime Boss From Prison By Mistake Due To Bureaucratic Mishap

Officials in Colombia have reportedly released a crime boss from prison by mistake due to a bureaucratic oversight.

Photo shows Angel Martinez Quiroz, undated. He was arrested in the largest anti-drug operation in Italy in which 4.3 tonnes of cocaine were seized and released from prison by mistake. (Newsflash)

Drug trafficking boss Angel Martinez Quiroz, 68, was initially arrested in Colombia as a result of one of Italy’s biggest-ever anti-drug busts.

He was then held in pretrial detention in Bogota.

But now he has reportedly been released from prison over a bureaucratic mishap.

The district anti-mafia directorate of Trieste in Italy reportedly allowed the terms of his precautionary custody to expire.

But the Italian authorities have hit back and laid the blame at the feet of their counterparts in Colombia, accusing them of “failing to communicate properly”.

Italian Prosecutor Antonio De Nicolo said: “Having obtained from the investigating judge the precautionary measures requested in the context of the anti-drug operation, the Prosecutor’s Office asked the Minister of Justice to promote the extradition request.

“In perfect compliance with the intentions of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Minister promptly submitted the request and the Colombian judicial authority did not communicate its decision one year after the ministerial initiative.”

The Prosecutor continued: “The attention and scruple paid to the matter led the magistrate [in Colombia] to promptly and on his own initiative request the investigating judge to terminate precautionary custody on 6th September, because the one-year deadline had expired.

“There was no error by our office. If anything, particular attention was paid to the procedural position of Angel Maria Martinez Quiroz.

“The release was necessary because there was no timely response from the Colombian authorities.”

Quiroz was arrested a year ago in Medellin, a hotbed for cocaine cartels in Colombia, following an investigation by Italian officials in Trieste.

During the bust, 4.3 tonnes of cocaine worth over EUR 2 billion (GBP 1.7 billion) were seized and 38 arrests were made. 

Quiroz is now understood to be at large.