International News

Miami-Dade Court Awards $191.4 Million in Seized Assets to Family of Colombian Man Killed in 1999

The family of Carlos Octavio Caballero Cormane, a Colombian politician whose 1999 murder was believed to be carried out by coke smugglers and radical groups, has been awarded $191.4 million by a Miami-Dade judge.

Caballero was a high profile politician. He had served as a senator, governor of Magdalena, and Colombia's ambassador to the United Nations. Back in 1999, the 76-year-old Caballero was traveling by car to a farm he owned in the Magdalena River Valley when he was kidnapped by leftist guerrillas. Though his family paid millions in ransom, his body was still found months later riddled with five bullet wounds and signs of torture.

A father of ten, his family is now scattered in exile across the globe.

Back in 2012, his son Antonio Caballero Wightman filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade Court seeking a minimum amount of $75,0000, according to El Tiempo.

Instead, according to The Miami Herald, a Miami-Dade circuit judge awarded him $191.4 million.

The suit alleged that three groups, including leftist guerrillas and a drug cabals, planned Cabalerro's kidnap and murder because he owned land in the Magdalena River Valley, an area critical to drug smuggling routes.

The suit alleges that the younger Caballero could not travel back to Colombia to file the lawsuit because he believed it was dangerous. Instead, under U.S. law, his legal team will be allowed to make claims on seized assets of various groups, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the National Liberation Army , and the Norte del Valle Cartel and associated individuals. None of those groups officially responded to the suit or defended themselves. Though, Caballero's legal team can also make claims on seized assets other terrorist groups, fronts, individuals, and narco-trafficking gangs under the law.

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Kyle Munzenrieder