EXTRADITED COLOMBIAN NARCO-TRAFFICKER APPEARS IN FEDERAL COURT IN MIAMI ON DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, announced the extradition of Juan Carlos Rivera-Ruiz, a/k/a “06” on federal drug trafficking charges.
Rivera-Ruiz, who had been in Colombian jails since his arrest in September 2009, was extradited from Colombia on Thursday, September 29, 2011, and was arraigned in federal court in Miami, Florida, on Friday, September 30. Rivera-Ruiz is charged with conspiring with others to import five or more kilograms of cocaine into the United States from 1990 until March 2009 and with conspiring with others during the same time period to manufacture and distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine knowing that the drug would be unlawfully imported into the United States. The statutes charged in the indictment each carry a mandatory minimum ten-year sentence and a potential life sentence upon conviction.
“The extradition of Rivera-Ruiz is yet another milestone in our prosecution of drug traffickers involved in the importation of cocaine into the United States from Colombia. In addition, it serves as another reminder of the close partnership and cooperation between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Colombian law enforcement” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville stated, “Juan Carlos Rivera-Ruiz was one of the most significant drug traffickers operating in Colombia. The arrest and extradition of Rivera-Ruiz shows the success of Operation Splinter Cell and highlights the coordinated efforts between the Colombian National Police and the DEA Miami Field Division.”
Rivera-Ruiz was a former top lieutenant of Wilber Varela in the North Valley Cartel and is allegedly responsible for smuggling multi-ton quantities of cocaine to the United States. Varela was killed in Colombia in January of 2008.
The indictment and extradition of Rivera-Ruiz is the result of the efforts of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), spearheaded by DEA. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations.
Mr. Ferrer commended the outstanding investigative efforts of DEA and their Colombian law enforcement partners. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Fels.
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.