Bolivian Police Officer Arrested on Extortion Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 06, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Hugo J. Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office; Vernot Foret, Director Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Miami Field Office; and Richard M. Blom, Chief, Doral Police Department, announce the arrest of defendant Francisco Mario Ormachea Aliaga, 42, of Bolivia, on a criminal complaint charging him with traveling in interstate commerce with the intent to promote, manage, establish, carry on, and facilitate an unlawful activity, that is, extortion, in violation of Florida Statute section 836.05, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951(a), and thereafter performing and attempting to perform an act to promote, manage, establish, and carry on, and to facilitate the promotion, management, establishment, and carrying on of such unlawful activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1952(a)(3). Ormachea made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry L. Garber on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, and is scheduled to be arraigned on September 17, 2013.
According to the allegations in the complaint, the FBI was contacted by a Bolivian businessman with initials “H.R.” on August 29, 2013. H.R. told the FBI that someone who identified himself as “the Colonel” had contacted H.R. to request a meeting in the United States. Subsequent investigation revealed that the caller, who had referred to himself as the Colonel, was Ormachea.
On August 29, 2013, Ormachea departed La Paz, Bolivia, on a commercial flight to Lima, Peru, and then flew on another commercial flight to Miami International Airport. At Miami International Airport, Ormachea presented a valid Bolivian passport containing a valid United States tourist visa to United States Customs and Border Protection, who admitted him into the United States.
On August 30, 2013, H.R. met with Ormachea. The FBI monitored and recorded this meeting. During the meeting, Ormachea discussed the issues surrounding the criminal case against H.R. in Bolivia. Ormachea offered to dispose of the criminal charges pending against H.R. in Bolivia for a fee of $30,000. Ormachea agreed to take a payment of $10,000 immediately and receive the remainder of the payment later.
On Saturday, August 31, 2013, H.R. met with Ormachea again. The FBI monitored and recorded this meeting. During the course of the meeting, Ormachea stated that, in exchange for $30,000, he would drop the charges against H.R. and charge someone else instead. If, however, H.R. did not pay, Ormachea said that he would pursue H.R.’s arrest in the United States, extradition to Bolivia, and prosecution there. H.R. gave Ormachea $5,000 in previously recorded bills as an initial payment towards the $30,000 required to resolve the charges against him. After the meeting, Ormachea departed by car.
FBI surveillance teams in coordination with local law enforcement conducted a traffic stop of Ormachea shortly thereafter. Ormachea was detained and $5,000 was recovered from his person. A review of the seized U.S. currency revealed that it matched the previously recorded bills.
Law enforcement officials interviewed Ormachea at the Miami Field Office of the FBI. After receiving and waiving his Miranda warnings in writing, Ormachea acknowledged meeting with H.R. on two occasions but denied attempting to extort H.R. Ormachea acknowledged that he is a member of the Bolivian National Police Corps but stated that he was not traveling in his official capacity as a diplomat of Bolivia.
Mr. Ferrer commended investigative efforts of the FBI, ATF, CBP, and the Doral Police Department. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Byrne and Jaime Raich.
A complaint is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.