Colombian drug cartel leader Diego León Montoya Sánchez, alias ‘Don Diego’, being arrested in 2007. Photograph: Leonardo Munoz/EPA
– Informants who helped US catch drug lords say rewards have not been paid (Guardian, Feb 25, 2014):
The lure of $5m helped catch Colombian capo ‘Don Diego’, but the man who turned him in says he is still waiting for the bounty
Tito will never forget the night he learned that the FBI had put a $5m price on the head of Diego León Montoya Sánchez (“Don Diego”), the leader of what was then Colombia’s most powerful drug cartel. As the newest name on the FBI’s list of 10 most wanted, Montoya was second only to Osama bin Laden as America’s most wanted.
When he saw the headlines on the evening news that night in 2004, Tito turned to Montoya on the sofa beside him in the safehouse where they were hiding, and the two men shared a nervous laugh. Tito, who was part of Montoya’s inner circle, thought: “Things are going to get hairy.”
And they did. The offer of $5m made Montoya distrust everyone around him. Over the next three years Tito helped Montoya escape numerous Colombian police and military operations to capture him. After each failed attempt, Montoya ordered the murder of those he suspected of ratting on him – including several of Tito’s closest friends.
“He started having people who knew things killed off. And if anyone knew things about Diego it was me,” said Tito. So before Montoya could turn on him, Tito turned him in, figuring he could live the rest of his life comfortably with the $5m bounty. Thanks to Tito, Montoya is now serving a 45-year sentence in a Florida prison. But six and a half years later, Tito hasn’t seen a dime of the reward.