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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Dominican Drug Lord extradited to the United States from Colombia to Face Drug Trafficking Charges

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Today, Colombian authorities extradited Dominican drug lord Cesar Emilio Peralta-Adamez, also known as “El Abusador,” to the United States to face drug trafficking charges filed in the District of Puerto Rico. 

“This arrest and extradition underscore the collaboration and cooperation between our law enforcement partners, as well as our commitment and resolve to combat transnational organized crime,” said U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow.  “We will continue to maximize our multi-agency efforts to bring to justice those who disregard our laws and smuggle drugs into Puerto Rico and the continental United States.” 

Peralta was the leader of a transnational criminal organization (TCO) based in the Dominican Republic. This TCO received multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela and transported these to Puerto Rico and the continental United States.

On November 28, 2018, a Federal Grand Jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against Peralta, charging him with conspiracy to import heroin and cocaine into the customs territory of the United States (Counts One and Two) and with distributing five kilograms or more of cocaine for purposes of unlawful importation into the United States (Count Three). 

The Indictment includes a narcotics forfeiture allegation regarding four properties and one business in the Dominican Republic controlled by Peralta:

1. Flow Gallery Lounge in Santo Domingo;

2. La Koura Club in Santo Domingo;

3. Aqua Club, in Santo Domingo;

4, Al Panino, in Santo Domingo; and

5. Peralta Investment, SA.

This prosecution is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation Filoteao, with the collaboration of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  The OCDETF program 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 https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF. 

The Attorney General designated Peralta as an OCDETF Consolidated Priority Organizational Target (CPOT) in 2017.  The Attorney General’s (AG) Interagency CPOT list is comprised of leaders who exercise “command and control” of the elements of the most prolific drug trafficking/money laundering organizations that have the greatest impact on the United States’ illicit drug supply.  The CPOT list represents the “most wanted” of the cartel leadership and ensures that the full capabilities of the U.S. government are focused, in a coordinated and clear manner, on a group of agreed-upon high-level targets.

Since 2017, the Peralta Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) has been investigated by agents assigned to the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF).  The CCSF is a multi-agency OCDETF strike force comprised of federal and state law enforcement agencies, including the DEA, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), FBI, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), and the U.S. Marshals Service, with the collaboration from the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety, the Puerto Rico Police Bureau, FURA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol, and the IRS.

Peralta’s DTO was also being investigated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. On August 20, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified Peralta and his Drug Trafficking Organization as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).

In coordination with foreign officials, Peralta was located and arrested in Cartagena, Colombia on December 2, 2019 at the request of the United States.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Peralta-Adamez from Colombia. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Max J. Pérez-Bouret, Chief of the Transnational Organized Crime Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jawayria Z. Auchter.

If convicted, Peralta faces a possible sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison for all the drug trafficking charges.

OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and is the keystone of the Department of Justice’s drug reduction strategy.  Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations, transnational criminal organizations, and money laundering organizations that present a significant threat to the public safety, economic, or national security of the United States.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated December 22, 2021