Former president of Colombia's Congress jailed in parapolitics scandal

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombian authorities have arrested a veteran lawmaker and former president of Congress on criminal conspiracy charges for alleged collusion with far-right militias.

Javier Caceres has been a senator since 1998. The 52-year-old Cartagena lawmaker was president of Congress until July.

Leaders of Colombia's paramilitary militias have confessed to thousands of killings and stealing millions of acres from poor farmers over two decades.

Several say Caceres was among their political allies. At least one says his gunmen compelled people to vote for Caceres.

At least 37 lawmakers have been jailed in Colombia's so-called paramilitary scandal since it broke in 2006. Fifteen have been convicted and are serving prison terms averaging eight years.