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27 January 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jim…

27 January 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Robert J. Joura, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); and Michael S. Clemens, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today the unsealing of two (2) Indictments and the arrests of thirteen (13) defendants, seven (7) in Miami and six (6) in Bogotá, who are charged in those Indictments with conspiring to import and possess with intent to distribute heroin.

The defendants arrested in Miami were: Omar Hernandez, a/k/a “Beto,” Angel Luis Rodriquez, Melquicedeth Maestre, a/k/a “El Doctor,” Willie James Colson, Jr., a/k/a “Barbeque,” John Arthur Sanders, Jose Alberto Rodriguez, and Alberto Romero. These defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance in federal court in Miami, tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Theodore Klein.

The defendants arrested in Bogotá, Colombia were: Carlos Julio Carranza-Martin, Jose Ignacio Duarte-Medina, a/k/a “Nacho,” Esperanza Romero-Molano, a/k/a “Esperanza Vega,” Pedro Vega Cruz, a/k/a “Pablo Vega,” a/k/a “Pepe,” Julio Cesar Suarez-Velandia, and Juan Carlos Santos-Gonzales, a/k/a “Flaco.” The United States is seeking the extradition of these defendants to face charges in the Southern District of Florida.

All seven (7) of the defendants arrested in Miami, as well as Juan Carlos Santos-Gonzales, who was arrested in Bogotá, are charged with one (1) count of conspiring to import heroin into the United States, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 963; and one (1) count of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. In addition, Juan Carlos Santos-Gonzales, Omar Hernandez, and Angel Luis Rodriquez are charged with one (1) count of aiding and abetting the importation of heroin, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 952(a); and one (1) count of attempting to possess with intent to distribute heroin, in violation of Title 21, United
States Code, Section 846. If convicted on any of these counts, the defendants face a maximum statutory sentence of life imprisonment.

The remaining five (5) defendants arrested in Bogotá were charged in a separate Indictment charging them with one (1) count of conspiring to import heroin, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 963; and one (1) count of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. If convicted on any of these counts, the defendants face a maximum statutory sentence of life imprisonment.

The thirteen (13) arrests are part of a FBI-initiated Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation known as “Operation La Morralla,” which is a joint DEA and FBI investigation involving their respective offices in New York, Miami, and Bogotá. Prior to these arrests, five (5) other defendants were arrested and convicted of heroin importation and distribution charges in Miami, and to date, about $900,000 worth of heroin has been seized as a result of “Operation La Morralla.”

Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Broward and Glades County Sheriff’s Offices and the Hialeah and North Miami Beach Police Departments. Mr. Jiménez also commended Colombian law enforcement, including the Policia Nacional de Colombia (CNP) and Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS), for their cooperation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Charles Duross and Anthony Lacosta.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.