APR 07 (ORLANDO, Fla.) – Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division (MFD), and A. Lee Bentley, III, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announced today that Luis Alberto Marulanda-Cardona (54, Colombia) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Marulanda faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, beginning in February 2009, Marulanda had a contract with a Colombian drug trafficking organization (DTO), where Marulanda’s associates picked up bulk cash in the amount of 100,000€ (Euros) a week in the Netherlands. Two months later, a DEA confidential source (CS) met with Marulanda in Madrid, Spain. During the meeting, Marulanda informed the CS that two small cocaine shipments had been seized in Portugal, by Portuguese authorities and one of his main associates had been arrested. As a result of the incident, Marulando had to suspend his operations in Spain and Portugal, and moved his operation to Italy. The DEA Madrid Country Office (MCO) confirmed that Portuguese authorities had seized several cocaine shipments in the amounts and on the dates consistent with those mentioned by Marulanda. He advised the CS that his DTO smuggled cocaine shipments weekly to Rome onboard commercial planes and that he would travel to Rome to pick up the drug proceeds. Marulanda later requested that the CS meet him in Rome, where Marulanda would give the CS 650,000€ to be laundered. As part of the conspiracy, Marulanda requested assistance to move the narcotics proceeds through New York City, Atlanta, and Orlando into Hong Kong banks and Panama City, Panama. The total amount of funds that Marulanda attempted to launder was $2,973,285.This investigation was conducted by the DEA MFD, Orlando District Office, with assistance from DEA’s Rome Country Office, MCO, Lisbon Country Office, Bogota Country Office, Hong Kong Country Office and Panama Country Office. It is being prosecuted by United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.