FBI Top Ten Fugitive Cocaine Cartel Leader Diego Montoya Arrested In Colombia

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Division, announces the arrest of Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez, one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. Montoya was arrested early this morning by Colombian authorities near Zarzal in the Colombian state of Valle del Cauca. Montoya has been on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list since May 2004.

Montoya is the principal leader of the North Valley Cartel, which is believed to be the most powerful and violent drug trafficking organization in Colombia. The cartel controls over 60% of the cocaine exported from Colombia to the United States. Montoya’s drug trafficking organization produces and exports several tons of cocaine on a monthly basis to the United States and other countries. In February 2007, a superseding indictment was filed in Miami to include charges against Montoya relating to the August 2003 torture and murder of an FBI witness in Colombia. The cartel reportedly relies heavily for protection on illegal armed groups, taking help from right-wing paramilitaries as well as leftist rebels.

Other members of the North Valley Cartel have been captured and extradited, or are awaiting extradition to the United States. In January 2007, Montoya’s youngest brother, Eugenio Montoya Sanchez, was arrested and is awaiting his extradition to Miami. In 2006, Carlos Jose Robayo, Montoya’s chief enforcer, was extradited to Miami and plead guilty. In 2005, Montoya’s brother and cousin, Juan Carlos Montoya Sanchez and Felipe Toro Sanchez, were extradited to Miami where they subsequently plead guilty and were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

FBI Miami would like to thank the Colombian National Police and Army, our partners in the intelligence community, the FBI Legal Attache in Bogotá, Colombia, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Justice for their continued support and investigative efforts that led to Montoya’s capture.

Please visit www.fbi.gov for more information about the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive Program.

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