Colombian President Says Ambassador To Uruguay Resigned To Defend Himself In Drug Trial

MEXICO CITY (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 08th April, 2020) Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday that he accepted the resignation of the country's ambassador to Uruguay, Fernando Sanclemente, so that the diplomat could defend himself as he stands trial over charges of illegal drug manufacturing.

On Monday, Sanclemente resigned after he learned that prosecutors had begun investigating a cocaine lab that was found on one of his family's estates.

"He resigned to take up his own defense in court. After being released from his duties, he will be able to comply with the requirements of the judiciary. We hope that it will help accelerate this process, and the judiciary will receive answers to their questions," Duque said in an interview with Colombian broadcaster La Carinosa.

The probe was launched in mid-February after US authorities traced cocaine found in US airports to the laboratory on the Sanclemente family property in Guasca, a town near the capital of Bogota. The lab, which was capable of producing at least 1 tonne of cocaine per month, was reportedly set on fire. Earlier this week, Colombian Attorney General Francisco Barbosa announced the formal inclusion of the ambassador in the investigation.

Meanwhile, Sanclemente has denied all wrongdoing and says he did not know of the laboratory's existence. The diplomat maintains that his family co-owned the country ranch with the Spiwak family. In 2017, 40 percent of the land had been leased for the cultivation of potatoes, onions and other agricultural products, the diplomat said, adding he did not know the leaseholders.