Colombia: regional intelligence chief surrenders to authorities

A former intelligence chief in northern Colombia handed himself over to authorities to face charges he fabricated assassination plots against President Alvaro Uribe to take credit for foiling the attacks, officials said Wednesday. Emilio Vence, the former director of the DAS secret police agency for Atlantico state, had spent five months on the run.

He denied any wrongdoing before surrendering to authorities late Tuesday in Barranquilla, 700 kilometers (430 miles) north of Bogota on the Caribbean coast.

He blamed two of his subordinates for planting fake explosive devices along a road shortly before Uribe was due to drive by. "They deceived me," he said, without naming the two. He said that he had gone into hiding because he was worried he wouldn't get a fair trial, the AP reports.

Government investigators interrogated Vence on Wednesday before ordering him jailed pending trial, the attorney general's office said in a statement.

The episode is the latest in a series of recent scandals to hit the DAS. The agency's top three officials were ousted last month amid allegations the agency was providing intelligence material to Colombia's outlawed far-right paramilitary militias. A.M.