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Press Release

Airline Mechanics Sentenced For Conspiracy To Purchase Private Jet To Transport Cocaine Internationally

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza has sentenced Jesus Enriquez Pimentel (41, Mexico) to five years and six months in prison and Tomas Borjas Mendez (38, Texas) to four years and six months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine internationally. Pimentel and Mendez had pleaded guilty on June 28, 2022, and July 5, 2022, respectively. 

According to information revealed during the sentencing hearings, on May 28 and December 8, 2021, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) used an undercover agent (UC) and a confidential source (CS) to negotiate with Pimentel and Mendez to purchase a private passenger jet for users in Mexico. During recorded conversations, Pimentel and Mendez told the UC and the CS that they needed to purchase the airplane in order to transport approximately 2,500 kilograms of cocaine. They explained that they would only be able to use the airplane once or twice. Then, the buyers would destroy the plane by intentionally crashing it in a jungle or the ocean. Pimentel and Mendez also attempted to bribe an individual, who they thought was an airport customs official, in order to allow cash and drugs to pass through the airport. The airport customs official was actually an undercover law enforcement officer.

To conclude the purchase of the airplane, Pimentel and Mendez traveled around the Southeastern United States over a one-month period and gathered more than $600,000 in cash and provided it to the undercover law enforcement officers.  Shortly after providing the final payment for the airplane Pimentel and Mendez were interviewed and arrested. 

“These criminals sought to exploit their abilities as mechanics by acquiring an aircraft to figuratively fly under the radar and smuggle drugs intercontinentally, as well as move physical cash globally,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Orlando Assistant Special Agent in Charge David J. Pezzutti. “The sentencings of these individuals demonstrate HSI’s commitment to stand on the frontlines fighting to disrupt the flow of illicit narcotics into our communities.”             

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn P. Napier.

Updated October 17, 2022

Topics
Drug Trafficking