Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg

Federal Government Interdicting Colombian Drug Pipeline At Both Ends

Colombian Police Officers, Airline Employees Arrested For Facilitating Shipments Of Heroin On Flights To New York City U.S. Arrests Colombian Police Officers and Airline Employees For Facilitating Shipments Of Heroin On Commercial Flights Into New York City.

MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, announced today that five individuals, including Colombian law enforcement and airport and airline personnel, were arrested today in Colombia on a provisional arrest warrant issued by Colombian authorities in connection with charges filed in Manhattan federal court of conspiracy to import heroin into the United States. Three others, including two Colombian law enforcement officials, were previously arrested as part
of the same investigation. According to the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

From August 2006, if not earlier, HUMBEIRO CARVAJALMONTOYA led a drug trafficking organization that smuggled heroin into the United States from Colombia through the Jose Maria Cordoba International Airport in Medellin, Colombia. The CARVAJAL-MONTOYA Organization included law enforcement officials and airport
and airline personnel who facilitated the export heroin through Medellin Airport. Couriers for the Organization smuggled heroin into the United States inside layers of clothing, within the linings of suitcases and handbags, beneath false bottoms of suitcases, inside computers, and inside international cargo, among other means. Organization couriers traveled atleast once a month from the Medellin area to New York City, each time carrying
between several hundred grams to several kilograms of heroin at a time. Seizures from five different couriers, including defendant NATALIE RIOS-CANO, who traveled or were scheduled to travel on Avianca Airlines from Medellin to New York City, are specified in the Indictment.

The defendants arrested today were HUMBEIRO CARVAJALMONTOYA himself, as well as his wife and partner, DIANA LOPEZ; Colombian National Police of- ficer MANUEL JULIAN LOPEZ-NAIZZIR, a/k/a “El Costeño,” a/k/a “El Costeñito,” who was assigned to the Airport Police Unit; Medillin Airport security supervisor GERMAN SOTO-VILLA, who worked in the duty free zone; and Avianca employee ELKIN FERNANDO DAZA-RIOS, who worked in the international cargo facility.

Two other Colombian National Police officers assigned to the Airport Police Unit, JULIAN DARIO HENAO-VERGARA and HENRY ALBERTO TOBON-CADAVID, as well as courier NATALIE RIOS-CANO, were previously arrested. The Indictment charges the defendants with a single count of conspiracy to import one kilogram and more of heroin. The defendants are currently in the custody of Colombian authorities and proceedings to extradite them to the United States to stand trial on the Indictment have commenced. The conspiracy charge in the Indictment carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a maximum
sentence of life imprisonment, although the maximum sentence may be subject to certain limitations pursuant to extradition procedures between the United States and Colombia.

The investigation was led by the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, including DEA Special Agents in the New York Field Division and Bogota Country Offices, New York Police Department Detectives and New York State Police Investigators. Mr. GARCIA praised the Task Force and its members for its work in this case, and thanked Avianca Airlines for its assistance in uncovering the conspiracy.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics Trafficking Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys KEVIN R. PUVALOWSKI and SARAH LAI are in charge of the prosecution. The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Former NYC Police Officer Sentenced To 10 Years For Narcotics Trafficking

Former N.Y.P.D. Officer Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison For Narcotics Trafficking

MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOSE TORRADO, a former New York City Police Officer, was sentenced today by United States District
Judge SHIRLEY WOHL KRAM in Manhattan Federal Court to 120 months in prison. On March 19, 2007, TORRADO pleaded guilty to participating in a narcotics trafficking conspiracy. According to the felony
Information to which TORRADO pleaded guilty, statements made during his guilty plea proceeding, and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:

TORRADO was an officer in the New York City Police Department’s Transit Bureau from July 2001 until November 2006, when he resigned as a result of this case. From about 2002 to September 2005,
TORRADO helped his brother, EDWIN TORRADO, distribute large quantities of cocaine and marijuana in the New York City metropolitan area. EDWIN TORRADO pleaded guilty to narcotics trafficking charges in 2006 in a related case brought by the United States Attorney’s Office. EDWIN TORRADO was arrested in September 2005, along with several other defendants, when agents from the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) seized approximately 135 kilograms of cocaine that were hidden in a false wall of a truck in the Bronx. The investigation subsequently uncovered an extensive drug trafficking network in which hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana were smuggled into Texas
from Mexico and then hidden in trucks and driven to the Bronx and Manhattan.

While he was an active NYPD officer, JOSE TORRADO helped his brother EDWIN TORRADO pick up and distribute cocaine and marijuana. JOSE TORRADO also went with his brother to pick up cash proceeds of drug sales. At times, JOSE TORRADO carried a weapon with him while delivering the narcotics. to 5 years of
supervised release.

Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative work of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Assistant United States Attorneys JASON P.W. HALPERIN and BRENDAN R. MCGUIRE are in charge of the prosecution.

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