News and Press Releases

Colombian Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 40 Years for International Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy

April 25, 2012

Carlos Arturo PatiƱo Restrepo Shipped Multi-Ton Loads of Cocaine to the United States

Carlos Arturo Patiño Restrepo, also known as “Patemuro,” was sentenced today to 40 years’ imprisonment, and was ordered to pay a $5 million fine by United States District Judge Leonard D. Wexler at the U.S. Courthouse in Central Islip, New York. On April 5, 2011, a federal jury returned a verdict convicting Patiño of three counts of conspiracy to violate United States drug laws – possession with intent to distribute, importation and international cocaine distribution.

The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

At trial, the government proved that Patiño, operating in conjunction with the Norte Valle Drug Cartel, orchestrated multi-ton cocaine shipments to the United States throughout the 1990’s, until shortly before his arrest in Colombia in 2007. The government presented testimony from 13 of Patiño’s co-conspirators and established that Patiño controlled the area near Viterbo, Colombia, through bribes to Colombian police and ties to paramilitary groups, such as the Auto Defensas Unidas de Colombia (“AUC”) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (“FARC”). In particular, Patiño financed entire regiments, or “blocks,” of the AUC to guard the jungle processing labs where the cocaine was manufactured and safeguard the routes used to transport the narcotics out of the country. Both the AUC and the FARC have been designated as terrorist organizations by the United States Department of State.

Patiño and the Norte Valle Cartel employed a variety of methods to transport the cocaine from Colombia through Central America and Mexico, before smuggling the drugs across the border into the United States. Initially, Patiño utilized small aircraft flown from clandestine airstrips in Colombia to fly the cocaine straight out of the jungle. However, after United States law enforcement began interdicting the light aircraft, Patiño and the Norte Valle Cartel switched to using fishing trawlers, cargo ships and “go-fast” speed boats to launch larger multi-ton loads of cocaine from both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Colombia for receipt by members of the drug cartels of Mexico, where it would be smuggled into the United States for eventual distribution in such cities as Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and New York.

At a sentencing hearing after the trial the government also established that Patiño participated in acts of violence, including murder, to further his drug business. Judge Wexler declared these acts to be “aggravating factors,” while sentencing Patiño.

“Patino ran his cocaine empire with an iron fist, using a terrorist organization for protection and killing those who stood in his way. His international narcotics enterprise was responsible for bringing, quite literally, tons of cocaine into the United States. International narcotics traffickers who send their drugs to the United States are on notice that they will be held accountable in the federal courts and will face severe penalties,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. Ms. Lynch extended her appreciation to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York, for its assistance in the case.

The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Allen L. Bode and Raymond A. Tierney.

The Defendant:

Age: 48

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