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April 18, 2014

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Colombian priest who ran far-right militia nabbed

Updated Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 | 2:46 p.m.

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombian authorities say they have captured a Roman Catholic priest who ran a far-right militia and has been sentenced in absentia to 19 years in prison.

Prosecutors say the band that the Rev. Oscar Albeiro Ortiz ran in a town near Medellin was engaged in murder and extortion for nearly a decade.

Authorities say Ortiz created the group in the town of San Antonio de Prado, recruiting paramilitaries who had ostensibly disbanded under a peace pact with the government.

Ortiz was arrested in 2010 but cleared by a lower court. Prosecutors won a conviction in August but Ortiz was by then a fugitive.

Prosecutors said he was captured Thursday night.

Authorities say investigators using wiretaps had overheard Ortiz fingering people as leftist rebels who later turned up murdered.