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Showing posts with label Operation Panama Express. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Operation Panama Express. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Leader of Colombian Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 18 Years in Federal Prison #OperationPanamaExpress

U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore sentenced Vinston Boxton-Moises (49, San Andres Island, Colombia, South America) to 18 years in federal prison for conspiring with others to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, knowing and intending that the cocaine would be unlawfully imported into the United States. Boxton was arrested on San Andres Island, Colombia in August 2013. He was subsequently extradited to the United States for prosecution. Boxton pleaded guilty on May 6, 2014.

According to court documents, between 2010 and 2013 Boxton was a knowing and willing participant in an ongoing plan to smuggle cocaine by sea. The cocaine was ultimately destined for unlawful importation into the United States. Boxton’s roles in the conspiracy included recruiting and paying mariners and mechanics, contracting for the use of smuggling and lookout/logistics vessels, and dispatching cocaine-laden go-fast vessels (GFVs).

Boxton is accountable for the GFV TAUPLY, interdicted by the United States in the Caribbean Sea on May 31, 2012, on the high seas and in international waters, approximately 85 nautical miles southeast of Nicaragua. The TAUPLY interdiction resulted in the seizure of approximately 1,000 kilograms of cocaine. Boxton arranged for the recruitment and payment of the mariners who ultimately operated TAUPLY and attempted to smuggle the cocaine. The Government of Colombia consented to the enforcement of United States law by the United States over the TAUPLY, its illicit cargo (cocaine), and crew. The five mariners who smuggled the cocaine on board the TAUPLY were successfully prosecuted in the United States for violations of the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act.

This case was investigated by the Panama Express Strike Force, a standing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation, comprised of agents and analysts from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Interagency Task Force South.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jose Morfi, Leader of Colombian Drug Trafficking Organization, Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison

U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew sentenced Jose Samir Renteria-Cuero (51, Cali, Colombia), a/k/a “Jose Morfi,” to 27 years in federal prison for conspiring with others to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine onboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Renteria-Cuero pleaded guilty on February 6, 2014.

According to court documents, Renteria-Cuero was involved in maritime cocaine smuggling operations from the 1980s until at least 2009. He started out as a mechanic, servicing go-fast vessels (GFVs) and participating in GFV smuggling operations. Eventually, he acquired and built GFVs and self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessels and recruited mariners to participate in maritime cocaine smuggling operations. Renteria-Cuero worked with others to transport and store cocaine in Colombia, construct and repair GFVs and SPSS vessels, and dispatch those stateless vessels from Colombia. Renteria-Cuero acted as a “general contractor,” accepting contracts to build SPSS vessels from cocaine owners in Colombia. Renteria-Cuero provided maritime cocaine transportation services aboard stateless vessels that were used to smuggle the drugs from Colombia to Mexico, via the Pacific Ocean, in international waters, knowing and intending that the cocaine would ultimately be imported unlawfully into the United States. Many of these ventures involved at least 1,000 kilograms of cocaine.

Renteria-Cuero was arrested in Cali, Colombia in March 2012, and subsequently extradited to the United States, first arriving at a place in the Middle District of Florida.

This case was investigated by the Panama Express South Strike Force, a standing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation comprised of agents and analysts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Interagency Task Force South. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Juan Alberto Ortiz-Lopez, High-Ranking Guatemalan Drug Trafficker, Extradited to Face Federal Drug Charges #OperationPanamaExpress

Juan Alberto Ortiz-Lopez, a/k/a “Chamale,” a/k/a “Juanito,” (43, San Marcos, Guatemala) has been extradited to the Middle District of Florida to face federal drug trafficking charges. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. The indictment also notifies Ortiz-Lopez that the United States intends to forfeit any and all properties, which are traceable to proceeds of the offenses. Ortiz-Lopez was indicted on February 1, 2011 and arrested on March 30, 2011, by Guatemalan authorities.

Count one of the indictment charges Ortiz-Lopez with conspiring with other persons, including persons who were on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and who were first brought into the United States, at a point in the Middle District of Florida, to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Count two charges Ortiz-Lopez with conspiring with other persons to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, knowing and intending that such substance would be unlawfully imported into the United States.

Ortiz-Lopez’s indictment was obtained following a long-term investigation by the Operation Panama Express Strike Force—a multi-agency task force targeting large-scale drug trafficking organizations involved in smuggling shipments of narcotics into the United States. Ortiz-Lopez was designated under the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program as a Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT) and was considered by the DEA to be the highest-ranking drug trafficker currently operating in Guatemala. For over a decade, Ortiz-Lopez’s drug organization received multi-ton cocaine shipments in Guatemala, which would then be transported through Mexico to the United States, where the cocaine would be further distributed.


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