Chiquita case: Ex-DEA agent adds to extortion claims

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Chiquita case: Ex-DEA agent adds to extortion claims

Former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent David L. Gaddis testified Friday in the ongoing paramilitary financing case involving Chiquita, according to  Law360. Gaddis contributed to the extortion claims made by Charles Keiser, the banana company's former head of Colombia operations, who testified last week

Gaddis stated that the right-wing paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) was the leading supplier of cocaine and had "victimized" the company by using it to smuggle drugs.

In April, U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra ruled on three of the 11 expert witnesses under challenge in the ongoing case. Gaddis was one of Chiquita’s challenged witnesses.

Marra then decided to limit Gaddis’ testimony to his expertise. However, plaintiffs argued that Gaddis was unaware of Chiquita’s payments to AUC during his time at the DEA.

During his examination, Gaddis repeatedly referred to AUC as a “drug trafficking organization,” as well as a terrorist group. AUC was officially declared a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in 2001. 

"We found that we were getting a greater bang for our buck by targeting the AUC and the AUC upper command," Gaddis testified. "They're victimized."

Additionally, Gaddis stated that the AUC “frequently” battled with the leftist guerrillas (FARC) over control of coca-growing territory in Colombia. This, the former agent said, included areas north of the Urabá region where Chiquita had banana farms.

A second bellwether trial is scheduled for mid-July.

The Chiquita trials: Multidistrict case involving the banana giant continues on

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