WASHINGTON — Samuel Santander Lopesierra Gutierrez, a former member of the Colombian Senate, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, the Justice Department announced today.
On June 15, 2006, Lopesierra was convicted by a jury in the District of Columbia of smuggling more than 2,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States and laundering millions of dollars in illegal drug proceeds back to Colombia from Puerto Rico, New York, and Miami.
Lopesierra is a former member of the Colombian Senate, representing the Department of La Guajira from 1993 to 1996, and a partner in a family business that imported cigarettes and whiskey into Colombia. His conviction was the result of a two-year investigation conducted by the Colombian National Police with the assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). That investigation, known as “Operation Conquista,” resulted in the seizure of more than 650 kilograms of cocaine and more than $1.5 million in United States currency and disrupted one of the largest drug trafficking groups operating along Colombia’s north coast.
The case was prosecuted by attorneys Robert Feitel, Michael DiLorenzo and Carmen Colon from the Department of Justice’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, as part of its ongoing effort to identify, investigate, and prosecute foreign drug traffickers who unlawfully import illegal controlled substances into the United States.