News and Press Releases

DRUG KINGPIN SENTENCED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced that Edgar Vallejo-Guarin, 50, a Colombian drug kingpin, was sentenced yesterday to 22 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz. The sentence was imposed as a result of Vallejo’s earlier guilty plea to conducting a continuing criminal enterprise involving repeated violations of United States drug laws. Vallejo was also fined $1 million.

The case against Vallejo was the product of a long-term joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Colombian National Police. In June 1999, United States Coast Guard officers traveling aboard a British Royal Navy warship located and seized a freighter in the Caribbean which was carrying more than 4,000 kilos of cocaine. Vallejo was indicted in 2001 after law enforcement officers in the United States and Colombia determined that he was the owner of a large part of the load. However, his whereabouts were unknown and he remained a fugitive until September 2008, when he was located in Spain by the DEA and arrested by the Guardia Civil, one of the Spanish national police agencies. He was extradited to the United States in 2010.

In a factual statement submitted to the court at his guilty plea, Vallejo admitted to having organized and directed drug shipments totaling thousands of kilograms cocaine from Colombia to the United States, which were smuggled via motor boats, freighters, and airplanes into Miami, San Juan, New York City and Houston. The defendant at various times ran organizations in all of those cities and also in the Detroit and Chicago areas, which distributed the cocaine and sent the proceeds to him in Colombia. The defendant admitted to running this criminal drug enterprise between 1987 and 2001, when he was indicted and became a fugitive.

In addition to the defendant’s payment of the $1 million fine, the United States Attorney’s Office has been able to legally seize and is forfeiting to the United States an airplane worth more than $2 million, and bank accounts in the United States, Switzerland, and Austria holding more than $10 million in drug proceeds. The sentence of 22 years imprisonment was 2 years longer than the required minimum of 20 years. Under Federal law, Vallejo will have to serve 85% of his sentence.

Mr. Ferrer congratulated the many agents of the DEA and the FBI who worked together on this successful investigation of a major drug trafficker. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Tamen and William Athas.

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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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