Former Colombian Paramilitary Leaders Sentenced
OCT 10 -- (MIAMI) - Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida (SDFL), announced that Javier Lindo and Ramiro Vanoy-Murillo, former members of the paramilitary and drug trafficking group known as the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) were sentenced on October 9, 2008 in the SDFL. Vanoy-Murillo was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment and Lindo was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment.
On July 29, 2008, Vanoy-Murillo and Lindo pled guilty to a fourth superceding indictment, charging them with conspiring to import several tons of cocaine from Colombia into the U.S., in violation of Title 21, USC, Section 953. This indictment was part of Operation Millennium, a joint operation between the United States Attorney’s Office for the SDFL and the Department of Justice’s Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section (NDDS).
Since 1999, Operation Millennium has resulted in 38 convictions of international narcotics traffickers and money launderers. Operation Millennium targeted one of the world’s largest and most powerful drug-trafficking organizations, which was headed by Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal. This organization pooled the resources of several significant Colombian and Mexican cocaine traffickers to import greater amounts of cocaine at a lower cost. The organization shared established drug routes, methods of transportation, and money laundering contacts. Vanoy-Murillo and Lindo were charged with having joined and participated in this massive conspiracy to import cocaine into the U.S.
The evidence established that from December 1997 through November 1999, Lindo conspired with others to import more than 18,000 kilograms of cocaine by providing the organization with vessels and transportation services, and investing in portions of the cocaine intended to be imported into the U.S. Court records and in-court statements reflect that Vanoy-Murillo is a former commander of the “Bloque Mineros” – arm of the AUC which was funded primarily through narcotics proceeds. Through his command of the Bloque Mineros, Vanoy-Murillo controlled cocaine production and airstrips in the areas of Antioquia and Cordoba, Colombia. Vanoy-Murillo provided security for the Bernal-Madrigal organization in connection with its use of airstrips to transport shipments of cocaine out of Colombia, and narcotics proceeds back to Colombia. Vanoy-Murillo also served as a major cocaine supplier for the organization. Both men were eventually extradited from Colombia to the U.S. in May 2008.
Mr. Acosta commended the DEA and NDDS for their outstanding work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Acosta also thanked the Colombian government for its cooperation in this matter.