Doral Resident Convicted of Conspiracy to Import Five Kilograms or More of Cocaine
A Doral resident was convicted by a federal jury for conspiracy to import five or more kilograms of cocaine and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney of the Southern District of Florida, and Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Jose Neda, 43, of Doral, Florida, was convicted on charges of conspiracy to import five kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
Sentencing is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke on November 9, 2016. Neda faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
According to court records and trial testimony, Neda was a member of a cocaine-trafficking organization in which his primary responsibility was to facilitate loading bulk quantities of cocaine on commercial cargo carriers in Maiquetía, Venezuela (at the Simón Bolívar International Airport near Caracas). Following the murder of the drug organization’s chief – Ernesto Menendez (a/k/a “Lucky” and “Loco”), the surviving leadership of the organization convened a series of meetings in Miami and Maracaibo, Venezuela in the summer of 2009 to discuss the organization’s continued operation. In particular, the organization’s new financiers proposed routinely sending cocaine from Maiquetía to Miami, Florida. Having recently lost a cocaine load, Neda was cautious and proposed initially sending between 5 and 25 kilograms of cocaine only one to two times per week. The parties agreed and further resolved that Neda would facilitate loading the drugs in Maiquetía by paying corrupt airport officials/security personnel to place the drugs in “unmanifested” packages on Miami-bound commercial cargo flights. Neda was thereafter delayed in loading the cocaine on the aircraft. Frustrated by the delay, drug organization leaders relied on another individual to send nearly 60 kilograms of cocaine in July 2009 to Miami on a commercial cargo flight that originated in Maracaibo. After the cocaine was seized in Miami by HSI agents, Neda agreed to help the drug courier who lost the load by “smoothing things over” with the individuals who financed the smuggling venture. Additional evidence adduced at trial disclosed Neda had also facilitated loading 10 kilograms of cocaine in November 2007 on a Miami-bound commercial-cargo flight that originated in Maiquetía, Venezuela.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Brady, Jr.