News Release
May 17, 2006

Operation Twin Oceans Miami Indictment of 32 members of Colombian Drug Ring

photo - Left to right: U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta, SAC Mark R. Trouville & a captain from the Homestead Police Dept.
Left to right: U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta, SAC Mark R. Trouville & a captain from the Homestead Police Dept.

MAY 17 -- Karen Tandy, Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Miami Field Division, R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida (SDFL), and Alexander Rolle, Chief, Homestead Police Department, announced the takedown of Operation Twin Oceans, a multi-jurisdictional investigation that resulted in the indictment of Consolidated Priority Target (CPOT) Pablo Rayo-Montano and 31 members of his drug trafficking organization. This international cocaine ring is responsible for smuggling multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Colombia to the streets of the U.S. and Europe. This three-year investigation has resulted in over 50 arrests, and the seizure of over 47,000 kilograms of cocaine and 700 pounds of marijuana.

Operation Twin Oceans has resulted in indictments returned and unsealed in the SDFL and the District of Columbia. The Miami indictment charges 32 defendants with various counts of conspiracy to import 5 or more kilograms of cocaine into the U.S.; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 or more kilograms of cocaine; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 or more kilograms of cocaine that was on board motor vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction and conspiracy to launder money. Among those charged in the Miami indictment was CPOT Pablo Rayo-Montano. According to documents unsealed in Miami federal court, Rayo-Montano and other co-defendants imported and conspired to import tons of cocaine into the U.S. from Colombia. In addition, Rayo-Montano established various shipping, boating and fishing businesses in Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Miami, Florida, to facilitate the drug smuggling and to hide drug proceeds. The Rayo-Montano drug organization had members in south Florida, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica, among other countries. Rayo-Montano masterminded a comprehensive infrastructure that included all aspects of the cocaine trafficking hierarchy, including production, international transportation/smuggling, wholesale distribution and money laundering.

Throughout the morning hours of May 16, 2006, members of the Rayo-Montano organization were awakened with the execution of arrest and search warrants by international, federal, state and local law enforcement officers. Twenty-one of the 32 Miami defendants were arrested. In addition, $850,000 in cash and bank accounts in Miami, $700,000 in cash in Colombia and Panama, $4 million in artwork, seven firearms, six vehicles and three yachts were seized pursuant to the Miami indictment.

U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta stated, "Operation Twin Oceans has disrupted a far-reaching Colombia-based cocaine trafficking and money laundering organization that smuggled multi-ton loads of cocaine to the United States. As a result of outstanding international cooperation, Operation Twin Oceans was able to identify, target and dismantle all levels of criminal activity, from the Colombian sources of supply to wholesale distributors in our local communities." Mr. Acosta commended in particular the investigative efforts of the DEA Miami Field Division, the Homestead Police Department, United States Marshal's Service and the Florida Highway Patrol for their outstanding work in this investigation and resulting prosecution.