Colombian Woman Arraigned on Terror Charges

By: AP
By: AP

WASHINGTON – A woman extradited from Colombia was arraigned Monday on terrorism charges for allegedly supporting leftist rebels in her native country.

Luz Mery Gutierrez Vergara, 32, pleaded not guilty to providing support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. She faces 15 years in prison if convicted.

An indictment against her and 10 other Colombians filed in September 2007 accuses Gutierrez Vergara of running a FARC radio call center in Villavicencio, Colombia, where money and messages were exchanged. The indictment says Gutierrez Vergara helped arrange FARC's purchase of weapons and ammunition, including 7.62 caliber rifles.

The FARC has been designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization since 1997. The rebels held three American defense contractors hostage for more than five years after their surveillance plane crash landed in the jungle in 2003.

Gutierrez Vergara was arrested by Colombian military and law enforcement officials in February 2008. Six months later, the United States filed an extradition request that was granted. She was sent to Washington Thursday to face the charges.

Only one other defendant charged in this indictment, Ana Isabel Pena Arevalo, has been successfully extradited from Colombia to the United States so far. She was arraigned last month.

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