Colombian Narcotics Kingpin Sentenced to 360 Months in Prison
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz sentenced Diego Perez Henao, a/k/a “Diego Rastrojo,” 43, a Colombian national, to 360 months in prison. Perez Henao was also ordered to forfeit $1,000,000.00 to the United States.
Perez Henao had been indicted by a federal grand jury on February 8, 2011, and previously pled guilty on January 24, 2014, to a single count of conspiring with others to manufacture and distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine from 1993 until February 2011, knowing that the cocaine would be imported into the United States.
Perez Henao acknowledged that he was involved in the manufacture, investment or shipment of in excess of 81,100 kilograms of cocaine during the timeframe of his conspiracy. He further acknowledged that he controlled numerous armed workers in his organization and used both airplanes and semi-submersibles to ship the cocaine north from South America to points in Central America and Mexico – en route to its eventual destination of the United States.
Following Perez Henao’s indictment, the U.S. Department of State offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his capture. Perez Henao was ultimately captured by Venezuelan authorities in Venezuela on June 3, 2012. The Venezuelan authorities sent Perez Henao to Colombia, which in turn extradited Perez Henao on August 28, 2013, to the United States to face the current charges.
“For over a decade, Perez Henao – one of the most powerful and prolific drug lords in recent history – controlled dozens of heavily-armed workers in his drug trafficking organization and oversaw the manufacture and distribution of over 80 tons of cocaine into the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Ferrer. “Perez Henao will now spend the next three decades of his life in prison. With this sentence, one of the largest cartel heads in Colombian history was brought to justice.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville stated, “Diego Perez-Henao, one of the last leaders of the North Valley Cartel, was responsible for smuggling more than 80 tons of cocaine into the United States. He used violence and intimidation to line his greedy pockets at the expense of his own people and had no regard for those who would consume this addictive poison. Today’s sentencing is a reminder that there is no place to hide, the DEA along with our domestic and international law enforcement partners will continue to pursue and prosecute those who engage in drug trafficking into our borders.”
“Diego Perez-Henao was a notorious, international drug kingpin who for years profited from the shipment and sale of illegal drugs,” said Ken Sena, Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami. “His illicit career was brought to an end through close cooperation with our law enforcement partners.”
The indictment of Perez Henao is the result of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) led by DEA and FBI. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
Mr. Ferrer commends the outstanding investigative efforts of DEA, FBI, the DEA Andean Region and their Colombian law enforcement partners. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam Fels and Daren Grove.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.