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Men Behind Embassy Bomb Plot Are Jailed in Chile

September 24, 2002|From Reuters

SANTIAGO, Chile — A Chilean judge sent two men to jail Monday for nearly 11 years for mailing a letter bomb to the U.S. Embassy in Santiago after the Sept. 11 attacks in a bid to create business for their security firm, judicial sources said.

The explosive device was addressed to the U.S. ambassador and delivered to the embassy in late September 2001 in the mail. It was defused and no damage was done.

Lawyers said Judge Jorge Zepeda found Lenin Guardia and former government informer Humberto Lopez guilty of "terrorist conduct" and sentenced them to 10 years and 300 days in prison.

Guardia, a freelance intelligence advisor, employed Lopez, a former leftist guerrilla-turned-government informer.

Guardia has denied any connection to the letter bomb, but Lopez confessed months ago that it was Guardia who had planned the failed attack.

Lopez's lawyer said the pair sent the bomb to try to create panic in Chile after the Sept. 11 attacks and increase demand for private intelligence services.

Discovery of the device led officials and the media to speculate that a group linked to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network might be active in Chile. Police arrested Guardia and Lopez soon after.

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