Five Colombians belonging to a criminal group that trafficked in cocaine pleaded guilty in the United States.
The Colombians pleaded guilty to using submarines to ship at least 19,000 kilos of cocaine to the Sinaloa cartel, according to the Florida Middle District Attorney’s Office.
The detainees who accepted their guilt are:
Fernando Pineda Jiménez, alias “Godfather” and head of the group, 40 years old; Luis Ernesto Pérez Quevedo, “Acuerpado”, 45; Adrian Luna Muñoz, “Vaca”, 45; Yesid Eduardo Torres Solís, “Dog”, 41; Héctor Ruiz Angulo, “Maestro”, 54, and Rodrigo Pineda Torres, “Gordo”, 53, the latter already sentenced to eleven years and three months.
At least five other defendants could face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison on the charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
According to a statement from the Prosecutor’s Office, Jimmy Riascos Riascos was sentenced in January 2020 to 24 years and four months in prison for his participation in the same conspiracy and Alonso Pineda Torres, alias “Galladita”, is awaiting sentencing.
All of them were part of a transnational criminal organization that sent semi-submarine and self-propelled ships from Colombia through the Pacific Ocean to Oaxaca (Mexico), where they were picked up by members of the Sinaloa cartel, according to court documents.
The defendants fulfilled different tasks, from supervising security at the sites where the “narco-submarines” were being built to constructing the fiberglass hulls of those ships.
In July and August 2015 and March 2016, in international waters, the United States intercepted three narco-submarines that had left Colombia and were heading for Mexico.
The first transported approximately 6,900 kilograms of cocaine, the one intercepted in August 2015 transported approximately 6,845 kilograms of cocaine and the one in March 2016 carried approximately 5,824 kilograms of cocaine.
In total, they were transporting more than 19,000 kilograms of cocaine, and a substantial part of those shipments were ultimately destined for the United States.
Another narco-submarine, linked to Rodrigo Pineda Torres, was seized in October 2017 in Colombia before it could be loaded with cocaine.
This case was investigated by the Panama Express Strike Force, a permanent strike force of the Anti-Drug Task Force Against Organized Crime (OCDETF) made up of agents and analysts from various US government agencies.
The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs substantially assisted in the extradition of the defendants to the United States, the statement said.
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