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Press Release

Colombian National Sentenced To More Than 24 Years For Conspiring To Send More Than 12,000 Kilograms Of Cocaine To The Sinaloa Cartel

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

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara today sentenced Jimmy Riascos-Riascos (44) to 24 years and 4 months in federal prison for conspiring to distribute cocaine on board vessels subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. 

Riascos-Riascos had pleaded guilty on July 18, 2019.

According to court records, Riascos-Riascos was a member of a transnational criminal organization that dispatched self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessels from Colombia into the Pacific Ocean, destined for Sinaloa Cartel members in Oaxaca, Mexico. Riascos-Riascos was involved in installing the engines on these SPSS vessels, recruiting mechanics to travel onboard, and providing instructions to crewmembers on how to operate the engines. Two of these SPSS vessels were interdicted in international waters resulting in the seizure of more than 12,000 kilograms of cocaine and the prosecution of the crewmembers in the Middle District of Florida.

Riascos-Rascos further admitted to being a crewmember on an SPSS that successfully reached its destination in Mexico, in May 2015.

This case was investigated by the Panama Express Strike Force, a standing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) comprised of agents and analysts from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the 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. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Baeza.

Updated January 10, 2020

Drug Trafficking