US Attorney – Former Colombian Paramilitary Leaders Plead Guilty to Cocaine Importation Conspiracy

LawFuel – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, announced that today two members of a former paramilitary and drug-trafficking group known as the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), defendants Javier Lindo, a/k/a “El Gordo,” and Ramiro Vanoy-Murillo, a/k/a “Cuco,” pleaded guilty to a fourth superseding indictment in which each was charged with conspiring to import several tons of cocaine from Colombia into the United States, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 963. Vanoy-Murillo and Lindo, who were members of one of the world’s largest and most powerful drug-trafficking organizations, face a statutory term of ten years to life imprisonment. The United States, however, has issued assurances to the government of Colombia that it will not seek a life sentence for either defendant.

Sentencing has been scheduled for October 9, 2008 at 2:00p.m. before United States District Court Judge K. Michael Moore.

“These defendants were traffickers who were members of a paramilitary organization who brought illegal drugs into our country,” stated United States Attorney R. Alexander Acosta. “Today’s guilty pleas signify the continuing effort of international law enforcement to combat narco-trafficking at its highest levels.”

“The arrest, extradition and guilty pleas of former high ranking AUC members Ramiro “Cuco” Vanoy-Murillo and Francisco Javier “Gordo” Zuluaga-Lindo are a victory for law enforcement both in the United States and Colombia,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville. “I would like to thank our partners in Colombia for their efforts in helping us pursue justice regardless of international borders.”

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alejandro O. Soto.

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 http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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