U.S. Offers Cash to Solve Colombia Crimes

The State Department soon will offer a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the murder of an American pilot in Colombia and the kidnapping of three U.S. defense contractors.

Engine trouble forced the Cessna aircraft carrying the group on a counterdrug mission to make an emergency landing last February, and the plane was quickly surrounded by members of Colombia’s FARC insurgency. Rebels killed the pilot, Thomas Janis, and Luis Alcides Cruz, a Colombian army sergeant on board. Keith Stansell of Georgia, and Thomas Howes and Marc Gonsalves, both of Florida, were taken hostage. State Department spokeswoman Amanda Batt confirmed that the reward is being developed and said the money would apply to those who plan murder/kidnappings as well as to those who carry them out. Batt said the department also planned “an aggressive publicity campaign throughout Colombia that includes targeting key FARC leaders believed to be associated with these crimes.” Full Story

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