Alleged Colombian Drug Kingpin Extradited to the United States to Face Drug Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division; and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the extradition of Diego Perez Henao, a/k/a “Diego Rastrojo.” Perez Henao, 42, a Colombian national who has been in custody awaiting extradition since his capture in Venezuela in June 2012, was extradited from Colombia on Wednesday, August 28, 2013. He made his initial appearance in federal court in Miami on Thursday, August 29, 2013.
Perez Henao was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 8, 2011, and is charged with conspiring with others to manufacture and distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine from 1993 until February 2011, knowing that the cocaine would be unlawfully imported into the United States. If convicted, Perez Henao faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a potential maximum sentence of life.
On January 30, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Perez Henao as a specially designated narcotics trafficker (SDNT). According to OFAC, Perez Henao’s drug trafficking organization was responsible for both supplying and shipping numerous multi-ton loads of cocaine from South America to Central America and Mexico with an eventual destination of the United States. In addition, Perez Henao is identified as one of the primary leaders of one of the largest and most influential narco-trafficking organizations, which has filled the power void following the fall of the Norte Valle Cartel and the dissolution of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Perez Henao’s extradition not only demonstrates our unwavering commitment to stemming the flow of cocaine into the United States at the source but also illustrates the strong partnerships we have maintained with our law enforcement counterparts around the world.”
“The collaboration between the United States and the Colombian government has been essential in the arrest and extradition of the notorious Rastrojos leader, Diego Perez-Henao, to the United States,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville. “The DEA will continue to join forces with our foreign law enforcement partners to bring high-level narco-traffickers to justice.”
“This is an outstanding example of an international partnership, this time with the Colombian National Police, that disrupted a major drug organization,” said Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Miami. “Henao’s drug trafficking enterprise knew no boundaries, reinforcing the FBI’s commitment to working with law enforcement agencies around the world.”
The indictment of Perez Henao is the result of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), led by the DEA and FBI. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
Mr. Ferrer commends the outstanding investigative efforts of DEA, FBI, and their Colombian law enforcement partners. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adam Fels.
An indictment is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.