The Chicago Syndicate: FARC
Showing posts with label FARC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FARC. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Member of @FARC_COLOMBIA Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Hostage-Taking of Three U.S. Citizens

Diego Alfonso Navarrete Beltran, 43, a member of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias Colombianas (FARC) terrorist organization, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to 27 years in prison on hostage-taking charges stemming from the 2003 kidnappings of three U.S. citizens in Colombia.

The sentencing was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips of the District of Columbia, and Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Division.

Navarrete Beltran was extradited from Colombia to the United States in November 2014 to face charges in a superseding indictment that was returned in February 2011. He pleaded guilty on Aug. 26, 2015, to three counts of hostage-taking. He was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the District of Columbia. Navarrete Beltran is among three FARC leaders who have been convicted for their roles in the hostage-taking.

“Diego Alfonso Navarrete Beltran participated in the hostage-taking and captivity of three Americans by the FARC, a Colombian terrorist organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “This case underscores our resolve to hold accountable those who target our citizens with violence anywhere in the world, no matter how long it takes.”

“Diego Alfonso Navarrete Beltran and other FARC guerillas ruthlessly subjected their American hostages to constant threats of violence while holding them in one camp after another in the remote jungles of Colombia,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “For over 16 months, this defendant was among the armed guards who prevented their escape. Today’s 27-year sentence provides justice for the three victims who were subjected to repeated barbaric abuse by the defendant and others while part of this terrorist organization.”

“Diego Alfonso Navarrete Beltran now faces a long time behind bars for his participation in the hostage-taking of three U.S. Citizens in Colombia,” said Special Agent in Charge Piro. “To all hostage-takers the message is clear: target our citizens with violence anywhere in the world and we will hold you accountable for your actions.”

According to a statement of offense submitted as part of the plea hearing, the FARC is an armed, violent organization in Colombia, formed in 1964 as the armed wing of the Colombian Communist Party. It has evolved into a major armed force financed by drug trafficking, hostage-taking and extortion. International human rights organizations have repeatedly accused the FARC of serious crimes, including kidnapping, murder, use of land mines, threats, the recruitment of minors, forced displacement and hostage-taking. The FARC was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. Secretary of State in 1997 and remains so designated.

As described in the statement of offense, Navarrete Beltran was a member of the First Front in the FARC’s Eastern Bloc.

In his plea, he admitted taking part in the hostage-taking of three U.S. citizens, Marc D. Gonsalves, Thomas R. Howes and Keith Stansell. These three individuals, along with Thomas Janis, a U.S. citizen, and Sergeant Luis Alcides Cruz, a Colombian citizen, were seized on Feb. 13, 2003, by the FARC after their single engine aircraft made a crash landing near Florencia, Colombia. Janis and Cruz were murdered at the crash site by members of the FARC.

For the next five and a half years, according to the statement of offense, Gonsalves, Howes, Stansell and many others were held prisoners by the FARC and used to bargain with the Colombian government. Along with about a dozen Colombian hostages, they were forced to march from one site to another to prevent their rescue. They were threatened, chained and forced to participate in proof-of-life videos. In early October 2006, the hostages were delivered to the FARC’s Eastern Bloc’s First Front and were held prisoners by the First Front of the FARC.

From October 2006 through mid-June 2008, according to the statement of offense, Navarrete Beltran and other guerillas kept the hostages under the control of the FARC’s First Front. In particular, Navarrete Beltran often served as an armed guard of the American hostages.

In July 2008, the Colombian military conducted an operation which resulted in the rescue of the hostages. All told, members of the FARC held the Americans hostage for 1,967 days.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mexican, U.S. Women Leading Law Enforcement Efforts Against #FARC and #TransnationalCrime

DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart and Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that IOANNIS VIGLAKIS, a/k/a “Pablo,” pled guilty yesterday in Manhattan federal court to attempting to provide material support to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (“FARC”), a Colombian terrorist organization. VIGLAKIS, a citizen of Greece, was arrested in Panama City, Panama, in coordination with Panamanian authorities during August 2012. He waived extradition and was subsequently turned over to the custody of the United States. VIGLAKIS pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest.

“This investigation clearly demonstrates DEA’s unique ability to disrupt and dismantle the arms-trafficking networks that supply weapons to the most significant global narco-terror organizations," Leonhart said. "DEA will continue to aggressively pursue international arms dealers and narco-terrorists who are focused on harming our nation's security.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “By providing functioning rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other military-grade weapons to an individual he believed to be a FARC associate, Ioannis Viglakis was attempting to arm a known terrorist organization that he understood would use those weapons against Americans and Colombians.”

According to the Indictment previously unsealed in this case:

Beginning in November 2011, VIGLAKIS had a series of meetings with a DEA confidential source (the “CS”) who represented himself to be an associate of the FARC. During those meetings, which took place in Europe and Central America, the CS informed VIGLAKIS that he was seeking weapons for use by the FARC to attack American forces in Colombia.

VIGLAKIS offered to provide the FARC with functional, bona fide, military-grade weapons – including assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade (“RPG”) launchers and surface-to-air missiles – in exchange for cocaine and cash. During the meetings, VIGLAKIS and the CS also discussed the FARC’s use of these weapons to fight the Colombian and American governments, including by shooting down American aircraft in Colombia.

During the following months, VIGLAKIS indicated that he would provide the CS with several RPG launchers as a sample. On July 18, 2012, VIGLAKIS successfully arranged for the delivery in Europe of six live RPGs and three working RPG launchers, which were received by a DEA undercover agent.

* * *

VIGLAKIS, 53, pled guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to the FARC. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Forrest on April 11, 2014, at 11:00 a.m.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the Special Operations Division of the DEA, as well as the DEA Panama Country Office, the DEA Madrid Country Office, and the DEA Copenhagen Country Office. Mr. Bharara also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs and National Security Division, the U.S. Department of State, and the Government of the Republic of Panama.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christian R. Everdell, Aimee Hector, and Michael Lockard are in charge of the prosecution.

“This investigation clearly demonstrates DEA’s unique ability to disrupt and dismantle the arms-trafficking networks that supply weapons to the most significant global narco-terror organizations," Leonhart said. "DEA will continue to aggressively pursue international arms dealers and narco-terrorists who are focused on harming our nation's security.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “By providing functioning rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other military-grade weapons to an individual he believed to be a FARC associate, Ioannis Viglakis was attempting to arm a known terrorist organization that he understood would use those weapons against Americans and Colombians.”

According to the Indictment previously unsealed in this case:

Beginning in November 2011, VIGLAKIS had a series of meetings with a DEA confidential source (the “CS”) who represented himself to be an associate of the FARC. During those meetings, which took place in Europe and Central America, the CS informed VIGLAKIS that he was seeking weapons for use by the FARC to attack American forces in Colombia.

VIGLAKIS offered to provide the FARC with functional, bona fide, military-grade weapons – including assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade (“RPG”) launchers and surface-to-air missiles – in exchange for cocaine and cash. During the meetings, VIGLAKIS and the CS also discussed the FARC’s use of these weapons to fight the Colombian and American governments, including by shooting down American aircraft in Colombia.

During the following months, VIGLAKIS indicated that he would provide the CS with several RPG launchers as a sample. On July 18, 2012, VIGLAKIS successfully arranged for the delivery in Europe of six live RPGs and three working RPG launchers, which were received by a DEA undercover agent.

* * *

VIGLAKIS, 53, pled guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to the FARC. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Forrest on April 11, 2014, at 11:00 a.m.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the Special Operations Division of the DEA, as well as the DEA Panama Country Office, the DEA Madrid Country Office, and the DEA Copenhagen Country Office. Mr. Bharara also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs and National Security Division, the U.S. Department of State, and the Government of the Republic of Panama.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christian R. Everdell, Aimee Hector, and Michael Lockard are in charge of the prosecution.


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