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Press Release

Colombian Drug Trafficker Sentenced To 15 Years In Federal Prison

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

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew has sentenced Carlos Alejandro Coneo-Contreras (51, Colombia) to 15 years in federal prison for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States. Coneo-Contreras had pleaded guilty on September 25, 2023.   

According to court documents, Coneo-Contreras was a logistical coordinator for a Colombian drug trafficking organization based in Cartagena, Colombia. In July 2017, Coneo-Contreras acquired a sailing vessel in Cartagena, which was to set sail with cocaine to San Andrés Island, Colombia, an island approximately 100 miles east of Nicaragua. Once the cocaine-laden vessel reached San Andrés Island, the cocaine was to be transported to Central America and then smuggled into the United States. In addition to obtaining the vessel, Coneo-Contreras purchased food, fuel, and navigation equipment for the mariners to use while on their journey to San Andrés Island. The Colombian Navy interdicted the sailing vessel, which had 164 kilograms of cocaine on board.

In June 2018, Coneo-Contreras again acquired a sailing vessel in Cartagena to transport cocaine to San Andrés Island. The Colombian Navy interdicted that vessel, this time with 452 kilograms of cocaine on board. Again, the ultimate destination for the cocaine was the United States.

This case was investigated by the Panama Express Strike Force, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) comprised of agents and analysts from the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and U.S. Southern Command's Joint Interagency Task Force South. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. The Colombian Navy and Colombian National Police also provided valuable assistance. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Pardo.

Updated December 13, 2023

Drug Trafficking