Former Colombian Prosecutor Pleads Guilty to Role in International Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
WASHINGTON – A former Colombian prosecutor pleaded guilty today to providing law enforcement information to drug traffickers as part of a conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville of the Miami Field Division.
Ramiro Anturi Larrahondo, 55, a Colombian national, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John D. Bates in the District of Columbia to one count of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, knowing and intending that the cocaine would be illegally imported into the United States. The plea agreement is subject to court approval.
Anturi Larrahondo is the first Colombian prosecutor ever to be extradited to the United States.
“Ramiro Anturi Larrahondo used his position as a Colombian prosecutor to leak sensitive law enforcement intelligence to large-scale drug traffickers in exchange for his own personal enrichment,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Anturi Larrahondo undermined international law enforcement operations and betrayed the trust placed in him by the Colombian government. As the first case ever in which a Colombian prosecutor is being extradited to the United States, this matter shows how dogged we are in our pursuit of narcotics traffickers and how determined we are to hold accountable those smuggling drugs into this country.”
“The DEA will not tolerate any acts that put our agents’ lives in jeopardy,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Trouville. “Mr. Anturi Larrahondo will now face the consequences of his criminal conduct to assist drug traffickers.”
Anturi Larrahondo was indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 26, 2010, in the District of Columbia. According to court documents, in 2009, while serving as a Colombian prosecutor, Anturi Larrahondo provided sensitive law enforcement investigative information to a major Colombian maritime drug trafficking organization.
According to Anturi Larrahondo’s plea agreement, the drug trafficking organization Anturi Larrahondo conspired with was responsible for transporting cocaine by go-fast vessels from the port city of Buenaventura, Colombia, to Central America, with the ultimate destination being the United States. During the investigation, Colombian judicial wire intercepts recorded Anturi Larrahondo speaking to representatives of the drug trafficking organization and a DEA cooperating source regarding financial payments to Anturi Larrahondo, delivery of documents to the drug trafficking organization and the coordination of meetings between Anturi Larrahondo and representatives of the drug trafficking organization.
As part of his plea agreement, Anturi Larrahondo admitted he received regular monthly payments from the Colombian drug trafficking organization in order for the drug traffickers to find out what, if any, criminal investigation the governments of Colombia or the United States were conducting against the drug traffickers. Anturi Larrahondo further admitted that he received the corrupt payments in order to protect the drug trafficking organization from law enforcement. Members of the Colombian drug trafficking organization made regular monthly cash payments to Anturi Larrahondo of 21 million pesos, the equivalent of approximately $10,000 in U.S. currency.
Anturi Larrahondo’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 26, 2012.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Mark Maldonado, Stephen May and Stephen Sola of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, with significant assistance from the section’s judicial attaches in Bogota, Colombia, the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Colombia. The case was investigated by DEA’s Bogota Country Office and the Miami Field Division, in coordination with the Judicial Police of the Prosecutor General’s Office in Colombia and the Colombian National Police.