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Justice News

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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Colombian National Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For International Narcotics Trafficking

Tampa, FL - U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore earlier this week sentenced Jose Rivas (61, Colombia) to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine while onboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Rivas pleaded guilty on December 17, 2012.

According to court documents, Rivas and a co-conspirator departed Colombia in a vessel smuggling 568 kilograms of cocaine. On August 14, 2012, Rivas and his co-conspirator were interdicted by the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea.

“Homeland Security Investigations and our law enforcement partners who participate in the Panama Express North Strike Force will continue to use all available resources to dismantle narcotics trafficking organizations and prevent the introduction of cocaine into our communities,” said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Tampa.

This case was investigated by the Panama Express North Strike Force, a standing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), comprised of agents and analysts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and U.S. Southern Command's Joint Interagency Task Force South. It was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.

Updated January 26, 2015