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Members of Puerto Rico-based cocaine trafficking operation charged

(ATLANTA) – Vladimir Collazo-Florido, aka“Cannabis,” Marlon Matthew Pittman, aka “Marlo Pittman,” and Carlos Gonzalez-Catala, aka “El Electrico,” each with prior federal convictions for drug trafficking, have been indicted for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine based on a scheme in which they used the U.S. Mail to ship kilogram quantities of cocaine from Puerto Rico to the Atlanta metropolitan area and then to ship their illicit proceeds back to Puerto Rico.

Daniel R. Salter, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Division stated, “These cocaine distributors sold poison to the community.  We exploited their weaknesses and dismantled this once-thriving criminal network.  These efforts would not have been successful without the full cooperation between our federal, state, and local law enforcement counterparts.”

“These defendants have already served sentences for distributing dangerous drugs,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn.  “However, instead of learning from their mistakes, they again chose to poison our community and exploit the U.S. Postal Service for their criminal activities.” 

“Through our joint enforcement efforts, we’ve dismantled a criminal organization that posed a direct threat to the safety and stability of various communities,” said David M. McGinnis, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division.  “Postal Inspectors will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and hold those accountable who maliciously utilize the U.S. mail system.”

According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court:  The charges arose from an investigation into money laundering activities in Atlanta as far back as 2012, and eventually led to a series of federally authorized wiretaps on cellular phones used by members of the drug trafficking operation (“DTO”) in Atlanta and Puerto Rico.

The indictment and other information presented in court allege that Collazo-Florido would obtain cocaine from sources in the Dominican Republic and Colombia. Collazo-Florido would then send some of that cocaine through the U.S. Mail to his associates in the contiguous United States, including Pittman in Atlanta, usually in parcels containing up to 1.5 kilograms at a time.  In order to avoid detection if the parcels were inspected, the cocaine would be hidden inside seemingly innocent items such as children’s toys, cans of powdered milk, or cans of beans.

The indictment and other information presented in court further allege that Gonzalez-Catala was responsible for packaging and mailing the drugs.  Pittman would sell the cocaine to customers in Atlanta, South Carolina, and Maryland.  Pittman would then transfer the proceeds of the drug sales back to Puerto Rico by carrying large quantities of cash – including one instance of transporting approximately $90,000 cash in a duffle bag – and other times by purchasing and mailing U.S. Postal Service money orders.

The following individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury on August 15, 2017:

  • Vladimir Collazo-Florido, aka “Cannabis,” a/k/a “El Fumador,” aka “Cualquiera,” aka “Humo,” aka “Johnny Bravo,” aka “Aloha,” aka “Smoking Chronic,” 42, of Carolina, Puerto Rico.

  • Marlon Matthew Pittman, aka “Marlo Pittman,” aka “007,” aka “7up,” aka “Cowboys,” aka “7,” 43, of Mableton, Georgia.

  • Carlos Gonzalez-Catala, aka “El Electrico,” aka “Chili,” aka “Chiri,” 41, of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.

All three individuals have been charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine.  Pittman has also been charged with money laundering. Collazo-Florido and Gonzalez-Catala were arrested in Puerto Rico.  They made their first appearance there on August 24, 2017, and were then transferred to Atlanta where they have been ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Judge Justin S. Anand.  Pittman was arraigned in Atlanta on August 28, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

          This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

          Assistant U.S. Attorney Garrett L. Bradford is prosecuting the case.

          The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov. Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv.

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