A former Bolivian official has been sentenced to six years in a U.S. prison on Wednesday after he had been found guilty of money laundering after helping a Florida company get a government contract in exchange for bribes.

Arturo Murillo had pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit money laundering along with his former chief of staff, for his attempt to give a $5.6 million government contract to Florida police and military equipment company Bravo Tactical Solutions, according to the Associated Press.

Murillo had reportedly received $532,000 in bribes from the company in exchange for the contract, which he had attempted to launder through the U.S. financial system in Miami after he received it, Reuters reported.

The company, which was owned by Bolivian-American national Bryan Berkman, had used the $5.6 million that they received to buy tear gas from a Brazilian company for $3.3 million before using the rest of the money for bribes to officials.

Murillo had risen to power after the 2019 protests that had installed right-wing President Jeanine Áñez into the position. As interior minister, he had attempted to position himself as a hardline far-right politician, calling his opponents “narco-terrorists” and using force to put down protests that ended up being condemned by human rights groups around the world.

Despite this, the Bolivian elections ended up electing Luis Arce, the ally of deposed President Evo Morales, for the position after a year, and Áñez and her allies proceeded to be targeted by the government to be locked up for their involvement in the alleged 2019 coup. Áñez ended up being sentenced to 10 years in prison for her role in Morales’ ouster.

Bolivian Attorney General Wilfredo Chavez has responded positively to Murillo’s 70-month sentence in the U.S. prison system, saying that the government is “satisfied with this judicial decision and we are going to make efforts for judicial actions (of extradition),” before saying that they will be attempting to recover the money paid in bribes to Murillo.

Bolivian Government Minister Arturo Murillo
Bolivian Government Minister Arturo Murillo speaks during a news conference at the police headquarters, after operations against drugs trafficking in La Paz. Photo by: Reuters/David Mercado

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