News and Press Releases

FORMER FUGITIVE CALI CARTEL MEMBER SENTENCED TO 16 1/2 YEARS IN PRISON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2010

Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Investigations, and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Office, announced that defendant Jorge Solano, a/k/a “Eugenio Arocho,” a Colombian national who was a member of the Cali Cartel, was sentenced today following his conviction on drug trafficking and money laundering charges. U.S. Federal District Judge William M. Hoeveler sentenced Solano to 200 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release.

Solano previously pled guilty to four counts related to the importation of approximately 50,000 kilograms of cocaine into Miami from 1988 to 1991. Specifically, Solano pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to import cocaine, importation of approximately 12,250 kilograms of cocaine in September 1991, and money laundering conspiracy.

According to the court records and statements made in court during the plea hearing, Solano was a member of the Cali Cartel. At its peak in the 1980's and 1990's, the Cali Cartel was responsible for distribution of a majority of the world’s supply of cocaine. During 1990 and 1991, Solano was the Cartel member in Miami primarily responsible for coordinating the importation of Cartel cocaine from Venezuela into South Florida hidden in drums of asphalt and concrete posts.

According to the court’s file, on August 27, 1991, fourteen containers of concrete posts arrived at the Port of Miami onboard the M/V Mercandian Continent, from Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. Shipping invoices and bills of lading submitted to the then “U.S. Customs” listed “Tranca and/or Eugenio Arocho” as the importer of record. A Customs Inspector discovered metal sleeves containing kilos of cocaine concealed in the centers of the concrete posts. Based on this information, law enforcement initiated an investigation. In December 1991, following the search of Cali Cartel warehouses in Miami used for the concrete posts smuggling route, Solano fled to Cali in an effort to avoid being arrested. Solano remained a fugitive for the next seventeen years.

In October 2008, Solano was arrested in Togo, Africa, on suspicion of cocaine trafficking. United States authorities learned of Solano’s arrest from Togolese authorities. With the cooperation of authorities in Togo and Ghana, agents traveled to Africa to bring Solano to United States for prosecution.

The prosecution is the result of an investigation conducted jointly by ICE’s Office of Investigations in Miami and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The investigation ultimately resulted in the conviction of more than 100 members of the Cali Cartel, the seizure of large amounts of cocaine and drug proceeds in the United States and in Colombia, and the dismantling of the Cali Cartel.

Mr. Sloman thanked ICE’s Office of Investigations in Miami and the Drug Enforcement Administration for their dedicated efforts in this case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Morales.

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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.

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