News Release
March 30, 2006

Son of Cali Cartel Leader Sentenced to over 21 Years Imprisonment

MAR 30--Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida (SDFL) and Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced that defendant, William Rodriguez-Abadia, was sentenced to 262 months’ imprisonment for his involvement in a wide-ranging cocaine importation conspiracy that existed from 1990 to July 2002.

William Rodriguez-Abadia was one of the leaders of the infamous Colombian Cali Cartel. He is the son of Miguel Rodriguez-Orejuela and the nephew of Gilberto Rodriguez-Orejuela, who are the alleged founders of the Cali Cartel. Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez-Orejuela are scheduled to go to trial in September 2006 in the SDFL and are presently incarcerated in Miami.

Beginning in 1995, coinciding with the arrest of his father, Miguel Rodriguez-Orejuela, and at his father’s request, Rodriguez-Abadia began operating various aspects of the Cali Cartel. In particular, Rodriguez-Abadia became responsible for administering his father’s portion of the Rodriguez-Orejuela family business enterprises, including: a pharmacy chain of approximately 350 pharmacies in Colombia; a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Colombia; and various other entities. Rodriguez-Abadia helped initiate, develop, implement, and otherwise manage plans to launder and further conceal the Rodriguez-Orejuelas’ drug profits through a variety of schemes involving these business entities. In addition, Rodriguez-Abadia was responsible for arranging and ensuring the payment of bribe monies and payoffs to incarcerated cartel employees and their families. These bribes and payoffs were made in an effort to prevent cartel employees from becoming witnesses against Miguel Rodriguez-Orejuela and Gilberto Rodriguez-Orejuela. Rodriguez-Abadia took these actions in concert with, and after consulting with, Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez-Orejuela in furtherance of a wide-ranging conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States. Rodriguez-Abadia took these actions not only to facilitate the concealment of past drug trafficking activities, but also to facilitate the drug trafficking activities that Miguel Rodriguez-Orejuela and Gilberto Rodriguez-Orejuela were engaged in while incarcerated in Colombia (prior to extradition to the United States). These drug trafficking activities involved the importation of at least two loads of cocaine, each containing multiple hundreds of kilograms of cocaine, into the United States in 1997 and 1998. Moreover, Rodriguez-Abadia’s activities occurred between 1995 and approximately 2001, when the defendant went into hiding due to a request forwarded by the United States government to the Colombian government for his provisional arrest. During this period of hiding in various places in Colombia, Rodriguez-Abadia continued to reap the benefits of the Rodriguez-Orejuelas' drug trafficking, money laundering and corruption activities.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Rodriguez-Abadia has agreed to cooperate with the United States and to testify at trial against his father Miguel Rodriguez-Orejuela and his uncle Gilberto Rodriguez-Orejuela. Rodriguez-Abadia has also agreed to forfeit his right, title, and interest in all Rodriguez-Orejuela business entities in Colombia. Such business entities, which were financed with narcotics proceeds, have an estimated market value of $300 million.

Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge for the DEA Miami Field Division, stated, “We are grateful to our domestic and international law enforcement partners for their efforts in helping us pursue justice regardless of international borders. The Cali Cartel is one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in operation. It has been a top priority of the DEA to dismantle this organization. Working jointly with ICE, we have achieved this goal."

United States Attorney Acosta stated, “The best way to stop narco-traffickers and the influx of illegal drugs into south Florida is through the disruption, dismantling and prosecution of major drug cartels, such as the Cali Cartel. Today’s lengthy prison sentence fairly and justly reflects the breadth and magnitude of William Rodriguez-Abadia’s leadership in the criminal activities of the Cali Cartel. The United States Attorney’s Office, along with our federal law enforcement partners at ICE and the DEA, continue to pursue and to prosecute those who operate these drug cartels.” Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of DEA and ICE.

"The countless hours worked by federal agents and prosecutors for more than a decade to bring this man to justice for his involvement in the Cali Cartel was well served," said Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge for ICE in Miami. "Today's sentencing should send the message to those engaged in the illegal drug trade that no matter where you are, or how long you've been evading the law, ICE, along with its federal partners, will continue working to find you and bring you to justice."