FEB 04 (TAMPA, Fla.) – Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and A. Lee Bentley, III, United States (US) Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announce today that Jose Samir Renteria-Cuero, a/k/a Jose Morfi (51, Cali, Colombia) pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Renteria-Cuero faces a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years in federal prison up to a maximum term of life imprisonment. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
According to the plea agreement, Renteria-Cuero was involved in maritime cocaine smuggling operations from the 1980s until at least 2009. Renteria-Cuero began his career as a boat mechanic and participated in maritime smuggling operations. Eventually, he acquired his own maritime vessels to include go fast vessels (GFVs) and self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessels, and recruited other to participate in his cocaine smuggling operations. The Renteria-Cuero drug trafficking organization (DTO) knowingly provided maritime cocaine transportation services aboard stateless vessels that were used to smuggle cocaine from Colombia to Mexico in international waters that would ultimately be imported into the U.S. Many of the Renteria-Cuero DTO drug smuggling ventures involved 1,000 kilograms of cocaine.
Renteria-Cuero was arrested in Cali, Colombia in March 2012, and subsequently extradited to the United States. He was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.This case was investigated by the Panama Express South Strike Force, a standing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces investigation comprised of agents and analysts from the DEA, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and U.S. Southern Command's Joint Interagency Task Force South.