Former Colombian Councilman Sentenced To Fourteen Years In Prison For Conspiring To Traffic More Than A Thousand Kilograms Of Cocaine
Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday has sentenced Aureliano Cuero-Cuero (38, Mosquera, Nariño, Colombia), a/k/a “Chavo,” to 14 years in federal prison for conspiring to distribute cocaine on board vessels subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Cuero-Cuero pleaded guilty on May 23, 2018.
According to court records, Cuero-Cuero was an elected city council member in Mosquera, Nariño, Colombia at the time of his indictment in 2016. Between February and July 17, 2015, Cuero-Cuero was involved in the organizing and dispatching of three go-fast vessels that departed Colombia carrying over 1,300 kilograms of cocaine, but were later interdicted in international waters. The crew members aboard these vessels were arrested and prosecuted in the Middle District of Florida. Cuero-Cuero was arrested in May 2017, in Colombia, and extradited to the United States. Two other co-defendants in this case are awaiting sentencing.
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.