Colombian Drug Kingpin Extradited to The United States to Face Charges of Operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise
Daniel Rendon-Herrera, also known as “Don Mario,” will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on charges of leading a continuing criminal enterprise. In May 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Rendon-Herrera as a “Special Designated Narcotics Trafficker,” pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. The defendant was arrested in Colombia on a provisional arrest warrant issued from the Eastern District of New York and subsequently extradited from Colombia to the United States on April 23, 2018.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division, Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York, James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), and George P. Beach II, Superintendent, New York State Police (NYSP), announced the extradition. The case resulted from a long-term investigation by the DEA’s New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is comprised of agents and officers of the DEA, NYPD and NYSP.
“As alleged in the indictment, Rendon-Herrera led a major Colombian drug trafficking enterprise that imported tons of cocaine into the United States and employed hitmen who carried out acts of violence across North and South America in furtherance of the organization,” stated United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue. “The United States is committed to cooperating with our international partners to dismantle illicit organizations like Clan Usuga and stem the destructive effects wrought by this violent armed criminal group.” Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to the DEA’s offices in Miami and Bogota, HSI’s El Dorado Task Force, the United States Department of State, the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and the Colombian National Police.
“Don Mario was the most feared narco-terrorist in Colombia. He is known as the old man who ignited Clan Usaga’s reign of terror while besieging the United States with hundreds of tons of cocaine,” stated DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Hunt. “This extradition stems from his arrest in the jungles of Colombia nine years ago and was made possible by local, state, federal and international law enforcement efforts.”
“This case demonstrates that those involved in the distribution of narcotics will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted across international lines,” stated HSI New York Special Agent-in-charge Melendez. “Rendon-Herrera and his criminal organization destroyed many lives across two continents through mass distribution and sale of cocaine and targeted murders. Drug trafficking organizations must be dismantled at every level, from the street dealer to the international supplier and right up to drug kingpins like Rendon-Herrera. This extradition is significant for U.S. law enforcement efforts and will disrupt the flow of substantial quantities of drugs from entering our country.”
“Don Mario is one of the most significant drug traffickers of our time, recognized for moving multi-ton shipments of cocaine to the United States at a moment’s notice,” stated NYPD Police Commissioner O’Neill. “The defendant also founded the most influential drug trafficking organization in Columbia ever, responsible for the death of untold numbers by overdose and many more from kidnappings and targeted assassinations, all to protect their illicit trade. Today our country—and the nation of Columbia—will be safer because of relentless and persistent work from all those involved in bringing this kingpin to an American courtroom.”
“I commend the dedicated teamwork of the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force which was instrumental in the takedown of this dangerous drug trafficker and bringing him to justice,” stated NYSP Superintendent Beach. “Because of the task force’s aggressive strategy to stop this type of criminal behavior, they are preventing the infiltration of dangerous narcotics into our communities and helping to remove the violent criminals who profit at the expense of our communities. We will continue to be vigilant in working together with our law enforcement partners to keep these harmful narcotics off our streets and our neighborhoods safe.”
According to the indictment, Rendon-Herrera was the founder and one of the principal leaders of Clan Usuga (formerly referred to as Los Urabenos), the largest and most influential BACRIM (banda criminal or criminal group) in Colombia. Between approximately June 2003 and December 2014, Clan Usuga was involved in multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico and Central America for ultimate importation into the United States. Under Rendon-Herrera’s leadership, Clan Usuga coordinated the production, purchase and transfer of shipments of cocaine, as well as the receipt of shipments of cocaine in Mexico and Central America. Clan Usuga also controlled territory in various areas in Colombia and imposed a “tax” on any drug traffickers operating in regions under Clan Usuga’s control. Specifically, Clan Usuga charged a set fee for every kilogram of cocaine that was manufactured, stored or transported through areas controlled by Clan Usuga.
Clan Usuga also employed “sicarios,” or hitmen, who committed murders, assaults, kidnappings and assassinations. Clan Usuga utilized these acts of violence to collect drug debts, maintain discipline, control and expand drug territory and to promote and enhance the prestige, reputation and position of the organization.
The extradition of Rendon-Herrera is the result of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, DEA and HSI. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Gina M. Parlovecchio, Margaret Lee and Marcia M. Henry are in charge of the prosecution. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs handled the extradition in this matter.
DANIEL RENDON-HERRERA (also known as “Don Mario”)
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 14-CR-625 (S-3) (DLI)
United States Attorney’s Office