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Press Release

Colombian Man Admits Conspiring to Import Kilograms of Cocaine into the United States

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A Colombian citizen today admitted conspiring to import hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into the United States from places including Venezuela, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Edwin Nieves-Rosado, aka “Tortuga,” 56, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to Count One of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to import five kilograms or more of cocaine.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From 2016 through Jan. 10, 2020, Nieves-Rosado and others conspired to import at least 800 kilograms of cocaine. Nieves-Rosado admitted playing a managerial role in this conspiracy, which involved more than five individuals.

The count to which Nieves-Rosado pleaded guilty carries a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $10 million. Sentencing is scheduled for March 8, 2022.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. 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

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents and task force officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operating in New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark, as well as special agents and task force officers with the DEA operating in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. She also thanked the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance with the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Repole of the Economic Crimes Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Francesca Liquori of the Organized Crime and Gangs Unit.

Updated November 2, 2021

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 21-490