Medellín Drug Lord Carlos Lehder Released From U.S. Prison

Lehder was extradited to the U.S. in 1987 and received life without parole. His sentenced reduced several years later after cooperating with authorities.

Carlos Lehder

Image via Getty/Eric Vandeville/Gamma-Rapho

Carlos Lehder

Notorious drug lord Carlos Lehder was released from U.S. prison this week after serving more than three decades behind bars, his attorney announced Tuesday.

The Associated Press reports Lehder, who founded the Medellín drug cartel alongside Pablo Escobar, was transferred to Berlin upon his release from a Florida correctional facility, "where he had been held as part of the government's witness protection program." The 70-year-old was extradited to the U.S. in the late 1980s and convicted on a number of charges, including conspiracy and operating a criminal enterprise. He was initially sentenced to life without parole; his sentenced was reduced to 55 years after he agreed to testify against former Panamanian politician and military officer Manuel Noriega.

Lehder's attorney Oscar Arroyav told the AP his client has no intention or desire to return to Colombia. Lehder reportedly obtained German citizenship through his father; it's reported the German government will not pursue any criminal charges against Lehder, as he's already served time for his past crimes. According to the Guardian, Lehder is receiving assistance from a charitable group in Berlin.

Juan Riedinger depicts Lehder in Season 1 of Netflix's Narcos.

"Playing a real person definitely adds pressure to capture the truest essence of that individual," Reidinger told Fero's Magazine. "Ideally, if they’re alive, you get to meet that person and interview them. Unfortunately, Carlos is in witness protection and impossible to track down. There’s also not a lot of footage of him out there. But I did find a documentary about him which helped a lot in my research. As an actor, you piece together as many materials as you can, and ultimately, you also have to take some creative liberties."

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