Colombian Men Sentenced To 22 Years In Federal Prison For Conspiring To Traffic Over $100 Million Worth Of Cocaine
Tampa, FL – U.S. District Court Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced two brothers, Robin Castro-Gomez (36, Colombia) and Alvaro Castro-Gomez (41, Colombia), each to 22 years in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute over 3,500 kilograms (7,700 pounds) of cocaine. The approximate value of this cocaine is over $100,000,000. The Castro-Gomez brothers had pleaded guilty on September 12, 2022.
According to court documents and information offered in open court, between August of 2017 and March of 2018, Robin and Alvaro Castro-Gomez conspired to traffic over 3,500 kilograms of cocaine through the Eastern Pacific Ocean via three different low-profile vessels. These cocaine-laden vessels left the shores of Tumaco, Colombia, with an ultimate destination of Central America for further importation into the United States. Alvaro Castro-Gomez has a prior federal conviction for trafficking narcotics on the high seas.
Regarding the first drug trafficking venture in August of 2017, Robin Castro-Gomez was the leader of this operation, recruiting mariners to partake in the trip, as well as giving orders and providing logistical equipment to his co-conspirators. Alvaro Castro-Gomez was present at the dispatch site and participated in furthering this drug trafficking conspiracy. After the low-profile vessel was launched from the shores of western Colombia, the United States Coast Guard interdicted the vessel approximately 420 nautical miles northwest of the Galapagos Islands. The target vessel had 998 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of cocaine stashed inside. (Photos of the vessel and cocaine bales below):
In November of 2017, Robin Castro-Gomez again led and organized another drug trafficking venture in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, giving orders to mariners and handling the logistical operations of the crime. Alvaro Castro-Gomez recruited, hired, and paid one of the mariners for his participation in the drug trafficking voyage. This boat, too, launched from the shores of western Colombia. The United States Coast Guard interdicted the low-profile vessel approximately 326 miles northwest of Isla de Coco, Costa Rica. The target vessel contained 1,453 kilograms (3,203 pounds) of cocaine. (Photo of vessel below)
Again, in March of 2018, Robin Castro-Gomez organized and operated another drug trafficking venture in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Alvaro Castro-Gomez was also present at the dispatch site and participated in furthering the drug trafficking conspiracy. Days after the low-profile vessel launched from the western shores of Colombia, the United States Coast Guard interdicted the boat approximately 360 nautical miles south of Guatemala. The low-profile vessel was captured with 1,120 kilograms (2,469 pounds) of cocaine stored inside. (Pictures of the vessel and cocaine below)
This case was investigated by the United States Coast Guard and the Panama Express Strike Force, a standing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force comprised of agents and analysts from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the 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. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Pardo.