Colombia’s “Prince Of Semi-Submersibles” Sentenced To Over 20 Years In Federal Prison For Smuggling Thousands Of Kilograms Of Cocaine
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida
Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell has sentenced Oscar Adriano Quintero Rengifo, a/k/a “Guatala,” (35, Colombia) to 20 years and 10 months in federal prison for smuggling cocaine into the United States of America. Referred to in the Colombian media as the “Prince of Semi-Submersibles,” Quintero Rengifo was arrested in Colombia at the request of the United States on January 29, 2021, and extradited to the United States on January 26, 2022. He pleaded guilty on May 20, 2022.
According to the plea agreement filed in this case, Quintero Rengifo was part of a transnational criminal organization that smuggled cocaine from South America to Central America for ultimate importation into the United States. The organization primarily sent vessels such as self-propelled semi-submersible vessels to Guatemala, where the cocaine was then smuggled over the Guatemala/Mexican border and then into the United States. A former mayor in Guatemala, who controlled drug routes in northern Guatemala into Mexico, oversaw the smuggling of cocaine to Mexican cartel members. Quintero Rengifo progressed within the group, from organizing smuggling operations, to ultimately investing in shipments and securing investors.
From at least as early as January 2015 through September 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard interdicted at least four vessels, including two semi-submersible vessels, directly linked to the defendant’s organization, and involving more than 13,000 kilograms of cocaine.
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 Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, and the U.S. Southern Command's Joint Interagency Task Force South. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS) Judicial Attachés in Bogotá, Colombia substantially assisted in in securing the arrest and extradition of the defendant to the United States. The Government of Colombia and the Colombian Office of the Attorney General provided significant assistance and support. This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.
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 www.justice.gov/OCDETF. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Baeza.
Updated May 8, 2023