Arce Gómez, Luis

Arce Gómez, Luis
   The “minister of cocaine.” Former colonel and minister of the interior during the “delinquent dictatorship” (July 1980–August 1981) of Luis García Meza in Bolivia. The regime was internationally isolated because of its cocaine trafficking and its paramilitary death squads led by Latin American and European neo- Nazis. Arce Gómez, as interior minister, was involved with both. The death squads reported to him—he once warned that those violating the law had better carry their last wills with them. García Meza said of Arce Gómez, “Con Lucho, todo era muerte,” meaning that he was overfond of killing people. Arce Gómez also oversaw the production and distribution of cocaine. In 1982, shortly before the return to democracy, he went into hiding. He was discovered in Bolivia in December 1989 and extradited to the United States, where a federal court in Miami, Florida, convicted him in January 1991 for conspiring to smuggle drugs into the country. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison, though he was eligible for parole after 10 years. In 1993 the Bolivian Supreme Court convicted him in absentia for murders committed during the dictatorship, sentencing him to 30 years in prison without parole.

Historical Dictionary of the “Dirty Wars” . . 2010.

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