LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, and GERALD MCALEER, the Special
Agent-in-Charge of the New Jersey Office of the Drug Enforcement
Administration (“DEA”), announced the arrests of four alleged
members of a Bogota-based cocaine trafficking organization for
smuggling cocaine into the United states by concealing it inside
shipments of perishable foodstuffs, including sacks of corn
flour, boxes of fruit drinks, and boxes of pancake mix. LUIS
CARLOS CONDE-FALON, ARLES BALLESTEROS-SANCHEZ, LUIS ALEJANDRO
LEYTON-GONZALEZ, and JHONATAN CRUZ-VARGAS, were arrested earlier
late last night in Colombia.
A fifth defendant remains at large.
According to the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court:
The cocaine trafficking organization (the “Conde-Falon
Organization”), led by defendant CONDE-FALON, conspired to import
more than 100 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. To
facilitate the cocaine smuggling, the CONDE-FALON Organization
used import-export companies in Colombia and the United States
and disguised the cocaine within shipments of perishable
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum
sentence of life imprisonment, a mandatory minimum sentence of
ten years in prison, and a $4 million fine. The Indictment also
seeks forfeiture in the amount of $4 million.
Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative efforts of the
DEA’s New Jersey Field Division, Miami Field Division and the
Bogota Country Office, and also thanked the Miami Office of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland
Security as well as the Colombian National Police for their
assistance in the investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s
International Narcotics Trafficking Unit. Assistant United
States Attorneys SARAH LAI and MARC BERGER are in charge of the
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely
accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.