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Colombia Extradites Ex-Paramilitary Chief to US

A former Colombian paramilitary leader has been extradited to the United States on drug charges, despite objections from human rights groups that say sending him away could leave hundreds of murders unsolved.

Security was tight Thursday as Ever Veloza boarded a plane belonging to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, handcuffed and wearing a bullet-proof vest. The extradition comes one day after another one of Colombia's most-wanted suspects with links to paramilitaries (Miguel Angel Mejia) was flown to the U.S. to stand trial on drug charges.

Veloza, known as Hernan Hernandez, was a leader of the rightist United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, which the U.S. has designated a terrorist group. He was captured in 2007 after refusing to obey a Colombian government order for paramilitary leaders to surrender.

Veloza has admitted involvement in more than 2,500 murders. Human rights groups and victims' families say his extradition will allow many crimes committed under his command to go unpunished.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters