Informants who helped U.S. capture drug lord say they've not been paid

The $5m bounty on the Diego León Montoya Sánchez ("Don Diego") unpaid years later

By Natasha Lennard

Published February 25, 2014 2:53PM (EST)

The same week that "El Chapo," the Mexican drug king pin of the Sinaloa Cartel, was captured by authorities, informants who turned in Colombian drug lord Diego León Montoya Sánchez ("Don Diego") ago revealed they have not been paid a bounty offered by the U.S.

The Guardian reported that snitches lured by the $5 million bounty offered for Don Diego in 2004 have not yet been paid. By reneging on these deals, experts belief the U.S. may undermine the bounty system. Via the Guardian:

The offer of bounties is a powerful weapon in the US "war on drugs", especially against foreign kingpins who have been indicted in US courts. The state department's Narcotics Rewards Programme is currently offering a total of $185m for 41 suspects around the world, including known Colombian and Mexican drug lords and members of Colombia's Farc rebels, who are deeply involved in the drug trade. It was a tipoff that led Mexican and US law enforcement officials to capture Mexico's most-wanted drug kingpin, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, earlier this month. Guzmán was on the reward programme target list with an offer of up to $5m for information leading to his arrest. But the lure of a reward only works if people are paid. Tito and other Colombian informants who have helped capture or kill targets previously on the list say they have not received the rewards they were promised – and that the US is reneging on its obligations.

"I risked my life giving them information and the government has been jerking me around about the reward," Tito said. "Once they have what they want, we snitches become dispensable."

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Bounty Cartel Colombia Don Diego Drugs Informants Sinaloa Cartel War On Drugs