One problem: it seems Tafur, 36, is actually a lawyer who worked in a coca-eradication program in Colombia. He came to the U.S. for treatment after a plane crash and was studying environmental law when Colombian prosecutors asked that he be detained. On Dec. 3, 1998, police there seized seven tons of cocaine in Cartagena. Prosecutors claim $350,000 of Tafur's money was being used for the shipment. But Tafur has bank records that show the $350,000 in question was part of a widow's pension the Colombian Congress had awarded to his mother. Tafur's father, a legislator who helped draft the extradition treaty, was assassinated by narco-traffickers.
Colombian prosecutors won't comment. Justice officials say they are not vouching for the Colombian allegations. Tafur, who has been in a cell in Philadelphia for over a month, doesn't want to be sent home branded as a fugitive. "I am a prisoner of the war on drugs," he says.