MIAMI, FL. – Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Anthony V. Mangione, U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office, announce the recent indictments of several leaders and associates of militarized Colombian narco-trafficking organizations known as Bandas Criminales (BACRIMs). The BACRIMs are narco-trafficking organizations that seek to fill the power void left by the fall of the Norte Valle Cartel and the dissolution of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC).
More specifically, on February 8, 2011, a Miami federal grand jury returned an indictment against Diego Perez Henao, aka Diego Rastrojo, 39, a Colombian national. Perez Henao is alleged to be a leader of one of BACRIMs. The indictment alleges that Perez Henao conspired to manufacture and distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine knowing that the cocaine would be unlawfully imported into the United States. If convicted, Perez Henao faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
“The Southern District of Florida is the first and best line of defense against the importation of mass quantities of cocaine into our borders,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. “The United States government will not rest until we eradicate the BACRIMs and destroy their ability to ply their trade, as we did the former drug cartels.”
U.S. Attorney Ferrer also announced today the formation of a unit within the Narcotics Section of the United States Attorney’s Office dedicated to dismantling emerging Bandas Criminales. This is the first such unit in the nation specifically designed to target the emerging BACRIMs.
“Law enforcement’s success in removing the leadership of the major Colombian drug trafficking organizations has resulted in smaller groups, or bands of criminals, coming together to continue large scale importation of cocaine into the United States,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Trouville. “Diego Perez Henao led one of the several BACRIM groups, which the Drug Enforcement Administration and our Colombian partners have identified and targeted. Other BACRIM leaders and members should now know that they too are in the sights of the DEA.”
“The FBI continues to work with our law enforcement partners to eradicate international narco-traffickers who penetrate our borders and poison our society with cocaine,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Gillies.
“International drug cartels pose a direct and immediate threat to our national security,” said Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge of ICE HSI in Miami. “Drug cartels have an uncanny ability to adapt to law enforcement pressures. The combined efforts of ICE Homeland Security Investigations and our law enforcement partners is designed to keep the pressure on the cartels.”
The indictment of Perez Henao follows previous indictments returned in the Southern District of Florida against other BACRIM leaders and associates:
1. Ramon Alberto Quintero-Sanclemente, aka “La Maquina,” Case No. 08-CR-21084.
2. Juan Carlos Rivera-Ruiz, aka “06,” Case No. 09-CR-20254.
3. Jaime Alberto Marin-Zamora, aka “Beto Marin,” Case No. 09-CR-20140.
4. Rafael Alvarez Pineda, aka “Chepe,” Case No. 10-CR-20554.
5. German Bustos Alarcon, aka “Puma,” Case No. 10-CR-20554.
6. Juan Diego Montoya-Bernal, aka “Mechas,” Case No. 10-CR-20073.
7. Jesus Maria Sanchez-Jimenez, aka “Scooby,” Case No. 07-CR-20794.
8. Franklin William McField-Bent, “Buda,” Case No. 10-CR-20819 / 11-CR-20026.
An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.