Colombian Fugitive Extradited to United States to Face Charges for International Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy
Defendant Allegedly Coordinated a Shipment of Two Tons of Cocaine, Concealed Inside Steel Bumpers, from Colombia to Mexico and Destined for the United States
Carlos Andres Gallo Rodriguez was arraigned today in federal court in Brooklyn before United States Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione on an indictment charging him with conspiring to import and distribute cocaine into the United States. The defendant was arrested in Colombia on a provisional arrest request from the United States and subsequently extradited from Colombia to the United States on December 13, 2018. Magistrate Judge Tiscione ordered Gallo Rodriguez detained pending trial.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Ray Donovan, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division (DEA), announced the extradition and charges.
“As alleged, the defendant conspired with others to import a massive amount of cocaine that would be distributed in the United States, endangering countless lives,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office is committed to working closely with our partners here and abroad to dismantle drug networks and bring traffickers to justice.” Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to the DEA offices on Long Island and in Mexico City, the United States Department of State, and the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Office in Tucson, Arizona. Mr. Donoghue also expressed his appreciation to the United States Marshals Service (USMS), the DEA Cartagena Country Office, the Colombian National Police and the Government of Colombia.
“Drug traffickers’ ingenuity in smuggling methods never ceases to amaze me,” stated DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Donovan. “DEA has seen drugs concealed in hundreds of ways, for example: furniture, machinery, produce, wheelchairs, puppies and in this case rubber-encased steel bumpers. This arrest and extradition is a message to drug suppliers overseas that law enforcement is committed to bringing to justice those responsible for flooding our streets with illegal drugs.”
According to the extradition affidavit, Gallo Rodriguez organized the shipment of approximately two tons of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico, with its ultimate distribution to be in the United States. In December 2016, law enforcement authorities seized the cocaine at a warehouse owned by Gallo Rodriguez in Sibate, Colombia. The cocaine was hidden inside rubber-encased steel bumpers, which are commonly used on shipping vessels. Gallo Rodriguez oversaw the importation of rubber from Mexico and the preparation of the steel bumpers containing the cocaine. He also documented the shipment to appear to be a legitimate commercial import-export transaction.
The investigation was led by the New York Strike Force, a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, state and local law enforcement agencies supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The Strike Force is based at the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department, New York State Police, HSI, U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Secret Service, USMS, New York National Guard, Clarkstown Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Port Washington Police Department and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
The charges in the indictment are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted of the crimes charged, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and up to life imprisonment.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs handled the extradition in this matter. Assistant United States Attorneys Soumya Dayananda and Erin Reid are in charge of the prosecution.
CARLOS ANDRES GALLO RODRIGUEZ
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-213 (MJB)