August 23, 2006
Contact: DEA SA Erin Mulvey
Extradited To The United States
DEA New York says Manuel Felipe Salazar-Espinosa smuggled
million worth of cocaine into the United States
agents escort Manuel Felipe Salazar-Espinosa through White
Plains Airport in New York last night.
P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent in Charge of the United States Drug
Enforcement Administration in New York, MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United
States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, RAYMOND W. KELLY,
Police Commissioner of the City of New York, and WAYNE E. BENNETT,
Superintendent of the New York State Police (working together as the
New York Drug Enforcement Task Force), today announced the successful
extradition of MANUEL FELIPE SALAZAR-ESPINOSA, a/k/a “Hoover,” from
Colombia to the United States. SALAZAR-ESPINOSA, an international drug
kingpin who allegedly smuggled more than $100 million worth of cocaine
into the United States, faces narcotics-trafficking and money-laundering
charges in the Southern District of New York. SALAZAR-ESPINOSA landed
yesterday evening at White Plains Airport, and will be arraigned today
in Manhattan federal court.
to a previously unsealed indictment, from 2002 to July 2005 SALAZAR-ESPINOSA
led an international narcotics-trafficking enterprise that transported
ton-quantity shipments of cocaine by sea +- on board speedboats --
from Colombia to Panama. After the cocaine arrived in Panama, SALAZAR-ESPINOSA’s
organization secreted the drugs inside heavy machinery which was then
transported by special cargo vessels from Panama to Mexico, it was
charged. In Mexico, according to the indictment, the cocaine was removed
from inside the machinery and turned over to a Mexican drug transportation
organization which smuggled the narcotics into the United States to
New York and other cities.
of the investigation surrounding Salazar-Espinosa revealed
1,300 kilograms of cocaine (left) which was hidden in the arm
of this crane (right) in a warehouse
outside of Panama City.
Between 2002 and July 2005, SALAZAR-ESPINOSA’s criminal organization
transported more than 5,000 kilograms of cocaine, worth more than $100 million,
from Colombia to Panama to Mexico for ultimate importation into the United
States and New York City, it was charged.
Colombian authorities, pursuant to a request for a provisional arrest from
the United States, arrested SALAZAR-ESPINOSA in Cali, Colombia on May 23, 2005.
Two months later, in July 2005, Panamanian law enforcement officers seized
more than 1,300 kilograms of cocaine, worth more than $25 million, that SALAZAR-ESPINOSA’s
organization had hidden in the arm of a large crane in a warehouse outside
of Panama City. The cocaine seized in Panama was destined for Mexico and ultimately
the United States, it was charged. Photographs of the cocaine and the crane
are attached hereto.
GILBRIDE stated, “SALAZAR-ESPINOSA is responsible for the shipment
of thousands of pounds of cocaine into American neighborhoods. Today he faces
the consequence of his criminal activity: extradition to the United States.
The DEA stands firmly with our local and international law enforcement partners
in this battle against the world’s drug kingpins, and we will continue
to identify those individuals who make millions of dollars from illegal narcotic
shipments into the United States and put them out of business.
” Mr. GARCIA stated, “The extradition of yet another international
cocaine kingpin reaffirms our commitment to prosecuting the world’s most
powerful drug lords. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners
here and in Colombia to ensure that cartel leaders who target the United States
ultimately face justice in an American courtroom.”
If convicted, SALAZAR-ESPINOSA faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and
a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, although the United States
has provided assurances to Colombia that it will not seek a life sentence for
SALAZAR-ESPINOSA or any other defendant extradited from Colombia.
Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration,
the New York City Police Department, and the New York State Police, as well
as the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force.
The prosecution is being conducted by the Office’s International Narcotics
Trafficking Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys ERIC SNYDER and ANIRUDH
BANSAL are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in these Indictment are merely accusations, and SALAZAR-ESPINOSA
is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.