News Release [printer friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2006
Contact: DEA SA Erin Mulvey
Extradited To The United States
DEA New York
says Manuel Felipe Salazar-Espinosa smuggled over $100
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
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.
Part 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.
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
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
Mr. 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.