Colombian Associate of “El Chapo” Guzman Pleads Guilty to International Cocaine Trafficking
Defendant engaged in decade-long scheme to export hundreds of kilos of cocaine into U.S.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Jairo Cardona, 55, of Medellín, Colombia, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine for unlawful importation into the United States.
Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Derek S. Maltz, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Special Operations Division, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
Cardona was indicted on Dec. 8, 2011 by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine for unlawful importation into the United States. Cardona faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced on June 20, 2014.
In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Cardona admitted to being involved in a decade-long scheme to export multi-hundred kilogram shipments of cocaine from Colombia to the United States, by way of Central America and Mexico. Cardona and his conspirators used aircraft, speedboats and maritime shipments to export the cocaine from Colombia. Among Cardona’s conspirators was Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman Loera, also known as “Chapo Guzman.”
This case was investigated by the DEA’s Special Operations Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.