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Justice News

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

Monday, July 28, 2014

Leader Of Colombian Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced To 18 Years In Federal Prison

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore sentenced Vinston Boxton-Moises (49, San Andres Island, Colombia, South America) to 18 years in federal prison for conspiring with others to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, knowing and intending that the cocaine would be unlawfully imported into the United States. Boxton was arrested on San Andres Island, Colombia in August 2013. He was subsequently extradited to the United States for prosecution. Boxton pleaded guilty on May 6, 2014.

According to court documents, between 2010 and 2013 Boxton was a knowing and willing participant in an ongoing plan to smuggle cocaine by sea. The cocaine was ultimately destined for unlawful importation into the United States. Boxton’s roles in the conspiracy included recruiting and paying mariners and mechanics, contracting for the use of smuggling and lookout/logistics vessels, and dispatching cocaine-laden go-fast vessels (GFVs).

Boxton is accountable for the GFV TAUPLY, interdicted by the United States in the Caribbean Sea on May 31, 2012, on the high seas and in international waters, approximately 85 nautical miles southeast of Nicaragua. The TAUPLY interdiction resulted in the seizure of approximately 1,000 kilograms of cocaine. Boxton arranged for the recruitment and payment of the mariners who ultimately operated TAUPLY and attempted to smuggle the cocaine. The Government of Colombia consented to the enforcement of United States law by the United States over the TAUPLY, its illicit cargo (cocaine), and crew. The five mariners who smuggled the cocaine on board the TAUPLY were successfully prosecuted in the United States for violations of the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act.

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

Updated January 26, 2015