Christian Fernando Borda, a major narcotics trafficker aligned with paramilitary groups in Colombia, was sentenced today to serve 25 years in prison for conspiring to import ton-quantities of cocaine into the United States, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Administrator Michele M. Leonhart of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Borda, 49, aka “Tony,” was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in the District of Columbia. Borda’s sentence included a mandatory minimum prison term of 20 years due to his 1998 conviction in the Southern District of Florida for possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. In addition to his prison term, Borda was sentenced to serve 10 years of supervised release and ordered to pay a fine of $6.5 million.
“Christian Borda will spend 25 years in prison for leading a massive international drug trafficking operation that conspired to move vast quantities of cocaine into the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. “The substantial prison term secured against Borda would not have been possible without the extensive cooperation between law enforcement in the U.S. and abroad, and it demonstrates our commitment to holding drug traffickers accountable for their crimes.”
“Our relentless pursuit of justice alongside our Colombian partners has ensured Christian Fernando Borda will be punished for his criminal activities,” said DEA Administrator Leonhart. “For years, Borda operated a massive drug trafficking and money laundering enterprise, which facilitated the AUC’s terrorist activities. This successful investigation demonstrates the strong will and skill of the United States and Colombian governments to rid the world of the most dangerous and ruthless drug traffickers and facilitators.”
Following a trial that lasted almost seven weeks, Borda was convicted by a federal jury on Dec. 9, 2010, of one count of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, knowing and intending that the substances would be unlawfully imported into the United States.
Borda, a Colombian national, led a major international narcotics trafficking organization based in Colombia that transported ton-quantities of cocaine from Colombia to the United States and elsewhere via Mexico. As the leader of this drug trafficking group, Borda obtained large amounts of cocaine from Colombian sources and directed others who took part in the drug trafficking activities. One of their shipments of cocaine in 2005 involved approximately 1,500 kilograms that were smuggled in a containerized shipment of drums of palm oil on a vessel departing from the north coast of Colombia.
The evidence further showed that Borda conspired with others to distribute tons of cocaine in Colombia, Mexico and elsewhere, with the knowledge and intent that the cocaine would be imported into the United States.
Borda was one of seven defendants charged with drug trafficking offenses in an indictment filed on March 16, 2007. He was extradited to the United States from Colombia in October 2009 and was ordered detained in federal custody pending trial.
Borda’s co-defendant, Alvaro Alvaran-Velez, is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 3, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in the District of Columbia.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Paul W. Laymon and Robert J. Raymond of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, and Charles D. Griffith Jr., now of the Criminal Division’s Office of Enforcement Operations. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in the provisional arrest and extradition of Borda, and the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section provided assistance at sentencing. The investigation in this case was initiated by the DEA Miami Field Division in approximately 2004. The DEA Houston Field Division conducted a related investigation. Both investigations were conducted with assistance by the DEA's county offices in Cartagena and Bogota, Colombia, Mexico City and Guadalajara, Mexico. The U.S. Coast Guard provided valuable investigative assistance. The investigation also involved unprecedented cooperation from the Colombian National Police and the Colombian Fiscalia. The case, known as Operation Acapulco Express, was part of an operation assisted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) in Washington, D.C.