July 28, 2014
Contact: Public Information Officer
JUL 28 (TAMPA, Fla.) – Last week Senior U.S. District Judge James S. Moody, Jr. sentenced Luis Alberto Urrego-Contreras to 15 years and six months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, knowing and intending that such substance would be unlawfully imported into the United States (US).
According to court documents, from 2003 until January 2005, Urrego-Contreras, AKA "Bacon," acquired private aircrafts and pilots on behalf of the Fabio Enrique Ochoa Vasco Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) for the purpose of transporting cocaine from Colombia to Mexico. The cocaine was later imported into the US for distribution by the Ochoa Vasco DTO.
In January 2005, Urrego-Contreras arranged the purchase of an aircraft, Beechcraft King Air, from a business in St. Petersburg, Florida. On June 22, 2005, the Beechcraft King Air was flown from Venezuela to Colombia to retrieve approximately 2,000 kilograms of cocaine. As the pilots approached the designated Colombian airstrip, they noticed that the airstrip was being monitored by the Colombian Air Force. The pilots never landed, but retreated back to Venezuela. After landing in Venezuela, the pilot and co-pilot were arrested.
On October 28, 2010, Urrego-Contreras was arrested at the American Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. After waiving his Miranda rights, he identified photographs of Ochoa Vasco and others involved in the plane smuggling conspiracy. Urrego-Contreras was paid between $50,000 and $100,000 for each cocaine load. Urrego-Contreras was responsible for at least 1,000 kilograms of cocaine that was flown from Colombia to Mexico, and later distributed to the US by Ochoa Vasco DTO.
This investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations as part of Operation Panama Express. It was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.