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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Colombian Man Pleads Guilty To Drug Charge

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Anderson Bryan Lever (39, Colombia, South America) today pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, up to life, in federal prison.

According to the plea agreement, on multiple occasions between 2009 and 2013, Lever worked with others to smuggle cocaine into the United States. He repeatedly dispatched cocaine-laden vessels, carrying between 550 and 1,000 kilograms of cocaine, from San Andres Island (SAI), Colombia to Honduras. On each occasion, Lever recruited and paid at least four mariners per vessel. 

Lever’s co-conspirators received the cocaine shipments in Honduras and then provided bales of United States currency (containing as much as $500,000 each) to the mariners who had just smuggled the cocaine. The mariners then smuggled the money back to Lever, and the cocaine was transferred to others for eventual unlawful importation into the United States. In total, the mariners Lever hired Lever successfully smuggled in excess of 10,000 kilograms of cocaine.

Lever was arrested on SAI, Colombia, and subsequently extradited to the United States.

This case was investigated by the Panama Express Strike Force, a standing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, comprised of agents and analysts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and U.S. Southern Command's Joint Interagency Task Force South.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher F. Murray. The Office of International Affairs, Department of Justice, assisted with Lever’s extradition from Colombia.

Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Updated March 23, 2016