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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 19, 2000

DEA NAMES RETIRED COLOMBIAN NATIONAL POLICE (CNP) DIRECTOR GENERAL ROSSO SERRANO THE FIRST EVER HONORARY SPECIAL AGENT

DEA will present retired CNP Director General Rosso Serrano with an Honorary Special Agent badge at a ceremony at DEA Headquarters on Wednesday, July 19, 2000. According to DEA Administrator Donnie R. Marshall, "This will be the first time DEA has ever presented the Honorary Special Agent award. It is DEA's newest award recognizing exceptional service and dedication outside of our own agency in fighting the scourge of drugs. I can think of no one who so embodies the spirit of this award as General Serrano. He has put service to his country, his people, and the world before his personal safety." Mr. Marshall added, "Although he thinks of himself as 'just an ordinary citizen of Colombia', to us General Serrano is a true hero who has challenged the tyranny, corruption, and violence of the most notorious drug cartels day and night with unparalleled courage and conviction as director of the CNP for the last five years."

"I've had the honor and pleasure of working with General Serrano for many years. Under his command, the CNP declared war on drug cartels and joined forces with the DEA in dismantling the infamous Cali organization," stated Marshall. The 1995 arrests of the two most important members of the cartel, brothers Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez-Orejuela, signaled the beginning of the end of the seemingly untouchable cartel. Both brothers were arrested by the CNP and remain in prison today. The third most powerful leader of the cartel, Jose Santacruz-Londono, who had been arrested on July 4, 1995, was killed in a gun battle with the CNP two months after he had escaped from prison in January of 1996. By March of 1996, Pacho-Herrera, sixth in the Cali hierarchy, was the only kingpin still at large. In September 1996 he surrendered to the CNP and was sentenced to prison, and in March 1998 his sentence was increased.

Cooperation between DEA and the CNP continued as new independent drug organizations were created. In October 1999, Operation Millennium, a year long investigation designed to dismantle the "Juvenal" transportation organization, came to a successful conclusion. The "Juvenal" organization had been responsible for supplying between 20 and 30 tons of cocaine per month to the United States and Europe. "General Serrano, no doubt, must look back at these accomplishments with great pride. It's been both exciting and extremely rewarding working with him, and I can think of no one so deserving to be the first Honorary DEA Special Agent," Marshall concluded.

The Honorary Special Agent award consists of a gold DEA special agent badge encased in a dark blue Lucite stand. The award will be presented only in exceptional cases to individuals outside DEA who have had a monumental impact on drug law enforcement initiatives nationally and/or internationally, and whose actions have had a positive effect on DEA's ability to accomplish its mission.

The Award Ceremony for General Serrano will take place in the Auditorium at DEA Headquarters (700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, Virginia) at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, July 19. Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder will join with DEA Administrator Marshall, family, friends and dignitaries to recognize Gerenal Serrano's many contributions and to bestow this prestigious award.

Accredited press are invited to attend.

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