Bolivia's Anti-Corruption Chief Is Sitting in Miami Prison on Corruption Charges
Bolivia's political leaders need a new corruption chief.
photo by Rodrigo Acha via Wikimedia Commons
Mario Fabricio Ormachea Aliaga's has one job in his native Bolivia, and it's a pretty important one. The colonel in Bolivia's National Police is the Andean nation's top anti-corruption official. So it's not fantastic for Ormachea's resume that he's currently sitting in Miami's Federal Detention Center on corruption charges.
The FBI says Ormachea was caught on tape last week taking a $5,000 down payment on $30,000 he'd demanded from a businessman in Miami to make criminal charges go away back in La Paz.
Ormachea's troubling career turn started last week when a Bolivian businessman -- identified only as H.R. in a federal complaint, but ID'd as Humberto Roca by the Miami Herald -- contacted the FBI.
Roca was facing criminal charges back in Bolivia, but his attorney says the case is politically motivated and his client is seeking asylum in the U.S. Either way, when Ormachea contacted the businessman saying he could make the case disappear, Roca called the FBI.
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When the colonel flew to Miami on August 30 to meet the businessman, Roca wore a wire. During the meeting, the anti-corruption chief made an offer: $30,000 would make Roca's charges disappear. The police chief agreed to take a $10,000 down payment.
When the pair met again on Aug. 31, Ormachea repeated his offer and added that if he didn't get the money, he'd make sure the U.S. extradited Roca back to Bolivia. Roca handed over $5,000 in marked bills, and soon after, the feds nabbed Ormachea.
Ormachea told the FBI he wasn't traveling in his "official capacity" and denied any wrongdoing, but he's been charged with extortion.
Roca's attorney, Michael Diaz Jr., says the case proves the Bolivian government's case against his client is politically motivated.
"We have been saying for quite some time that the Bolivian government has been shaking him down after stripping him of his business," he tells the Miami Herald. "When he wouldn't play ball with them, he had to seek political asylum for himself and his family in the United States."
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