Colombian Man Pleads Guilty To International Money Laundering Conspiracy
Orlando, FL – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Luis Alberto Marulanda-Cardona (54, Colombia) today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Marulanda faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, beginning in February 2009, Marulanda had a contract with a Colombian drug trafficking organization, where Marulanda’s associates picked up bulk cash in the amount of 100,000€ (Euros) a week, in the Netherlands. Two months later, a DEA confidential source met with Marulanda in Madrid, Spain. Marulanda advised the confidential source that two small shipments of cocaine had been seized in Portugal, by Portuguese authorities, and that one of his main associates had been arrested. Marulanda stated that as a result of the seizure and arrests, his operations had been suspended in Spain and Portugal. DEA’s Madrid Country Office confirmed that Portuguese authorities had seized several shipments of cocaine, in the amounts and on the dates consistent with those mentioned by Marulanda. Marulanda then moved his operations to Italy. He told the confidential source that his organization sent cocaine to Rome every week aboard commercial planes and that he would return to Rome where he would pick up a large amount of currency. Marulanda requested that the confidential source meet him in Rome, at which time Marulanda would give the source 650,000€ to be laundered. As part of the conspiracy, Marulanda requested assistance to move the narcotics proceeds, in bulk, through New York City, Atlanta, and Orlando into Hong Kong banks and Panama City, Panama. The total amount of funds that Marulanda attempted to launder is $2,973,285.
This case was investigated by the DEA’s Orlando District Office, with assistance from DEA’s Rome Country Office, Madrid Country Office, Lisbon Country Office, Bogota Country Office, Hong Kong Country Office and Panama Country Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher LaForgia.