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Feb. 18, 2011

COLOMBIAN NATIONAL SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR IMPORTING COCAINE INTO U.S. IN 1990s

Indicted in 1992 in US, defendant extradited from Peru to the U.S. in late 2009 after serving a prison term there

(HOUSTON) – Patience and perseverance resulted in a Columbian cocaine trafficker being returned to the United States to face long standing charges for conspiring to import and importing hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into the United States in the 1990s. Today, he stands convicted and sentenced to prison for those offenses, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

United States District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. has sentenced Julio Cesar Gutierrez-Jaramillo, 58, of Pereira, Colombia, to 210 months in federal prison on both counts of conviction to run concurrently. Gutierrez-Jaramillo pleaded guilty to conspiring to import and importing 410 kilograms of cocaine into the United States from Colombia through Central America on April 9, 2010, after being extradited to the United States from Peru in December 2009. He was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and will serve five years of supervised release following completion of his prison term.

The charges against Gutierrez-Jaramillo are the result of an investigation conducted by the Houston office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation initiated in 1991. During the course of the investigation DEA agents, posing as drug smugglers themselves, met with Gutierrez-Jaramillo’s co-conspirators in Panama and Guatemala to discuss and plan the smuggling of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into the United States. Gutierrez-Jaramillo was to take possession of the cocaine once it reached Texas and transport the contraband to the Northeast for distribution. Ultimately, 410 kilograms of cocaine flown from Central America to south Texas as part of the plan where seized by the DEA.

An indictment was returned in 1992 charging Gutierrez-Jaramillo and others, but Gutierrez-Jaramillo was no longer in the United States and was therefore not arrested. In 1995, law enforcement officials in Peru charged and subsequently convicted Gutierrez-Jaramillo of a drug trafficking offense committed in that country. The United States sought the extradition of Gutierrez-Jaramillo which was granted but only after Gutierrez-Jaramillo served his prison sentence in Peru. 

In December 2009, the Peruvian government notified the U.S. government that Gutierrez-Jaramillo could be released to U.S. authorities. The U.S. Marshals Service took custody of Gutierrez-Jaramillo in Peru on Dec. 23, 2009, and returned him to Houston.

Eight other defendants charged along with Gutierrez-Jaramillo have been convicted as a result of the OCDETF investigation. All of them has been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 24 months to life imprisonment for conspiring to import, importing or possessing with intent to distribute varying quantities of cocaine. 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe, who was the original prosecutor on the case in 1991.

 

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