North Valley Cartel Trafficker Pleads to Narcotics and Obstruction of Justice by Murder Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 23, 2009|
R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, announced today that defendant Eugenio Montoya Sanchez, a/k/a “Hector Fabio Carvajal,” pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga this morning to conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 963; and obstruction of justice by murder, in violation of Title 18,United States Code, Sections 1503 and 1111. Sentencing is scheduled before Judge Altonaga for April 3, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.
Montoya Sanchez was arrested by Colombian authorities on January 15, 2007, following a shootout between arresting authorities and Montoya bodyguards. The defendant’s 2007 arrest was the result of a multi-year manhunt by Colombian authorities. He was extradited to South Florida on June 16, 2008.
According to a written statement of facts submitted to the Court in conjunction with today’s hearing, defendant Montoya Sanchez was a high-ranking member of the Colombian-based North Valley Cartel cocaine trafficking organization led by his brother, co-defendant and former FBI top-ten most wanted fugitive Diego Montoya Sanchez. Starting in the early 1990s, defendant Eugenio Montoya Sanchez assumed primary responsibility for managing Montoya organization drug finances. His role in this regard included maintaining and overseeing Montoya organization stash houses used to store cash drug proceeds.
According to the written statement of facts, the Montoya organization often maintained between $18 million and $20 million in cash drug proceeds collectively in its different stash houses around Colombia, sometimes storing as much as between $6 million and $8 million in a single stash house. Defendant Eugenio Montoya Sanchez used organization drug proceeds to fund the organization’s cocaine laboratories and pay an array of employees, including lab workers, cocaine transporters, and personnel who provided security and debt collection. He also invested drug proceeds in real estate and outside businesses.
In 1999, Diego Montoya Sanchez was indicted in the Southern District of Florida, and the charges were made public in 2000. As law enforcement pressure on Diego Montoya Sanchez mounted, the organization started spreading his duties on to other organization members. Starting in approximately 2003, defendant Eugenio Montoya Sanchez added to his duties by coordinating the shipment of multiple organization cocaine loads.
In early August 2003, Montoya organization operatives ambushed and murdered Jhon Jairo Garcia Giraldo, a/k/a “Dos Mil.” Prior to his murder, Garcia Giraldo had obtained and distributed cell phones and pagers for the Montoya organization. Fearing that Garcia Giraldo was cooperating with U.S. law enforcement, Diego Montoya Sanchez directed defendant Eugenio Montoya Sanchez to instruct a Montoya organization member to ambush Garcia Giraldo and beat information from him, particularly whether he was cooperating with authorities and what he had told them. Eugenio Montoya Sanchez conveyed the instructions to the organization member at a meeting in which they also discussed a strategy to lure Garcia Giraldo to a remote meeting location where they would abduct and interrogate him. Because of the Montoya organization’s practice of interrogating and then killing those who they feared were cooperating with authorities, defendant Eugenio Montoya Sanchez knew that the likely consequence was that Garcia Giraldo would be killed. Garcia Giraldo was successfully lured to a farm in a rural area outside of Cali, Colombia, where he was interrogated, beaten, and eventually killed. After the murder, the assailants disposed of Garcia Giraldo’s remains in a river.
Eugenio Montoya Sanchez is the third Montoya family member to be convicted in this case. In 2005, the defendant's brother, co-defendant Juan Carlos Montoya Sanchez, and his cousin, co-defendant Carlos Felipe Toro Sanchez, were extradited to South Florida. In November 2005, both pled guilty to conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and subsequently were sentenced to terms of imprisonment of 21and 19 years, respectively. Diego Montoya Sanchez was extradited to South Florida on December 12, 2008, and is pending trial before Judge Altonaga.
Three additional co-defendants in the case were apprehended in Colombia in 2008 and are pending extradition to the United States. Gildardo Rodriguez Herrera, a/k/a “Camisa Roja,” a/k/a “Camisa,” a/k/a “El Señor de la Camisa,” a/k/a “Urley Mena Rosales,” was captured on May 17, 2008. Jorge Ivan Urdinola Perea, a/k/a “Iguana,” a/k/a “Raul,” a/k/a “Don Raul,” was captured on June 25, 2008. Oscar Varela Garcia, a/k/a “Omar Garcia Varela,” a/k/a “Capachivo,” was captured on July 5, 2008.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In addition, Mr. Acosta thanked the Colombian government and all police departments involved for their cooperation and invaluable assistance in this matter. Mr. Acosta also thanked the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for its assistance. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Davis and Marcus Christian.
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 http://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 http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.