Two FARC Associates Plead to Drug Conspiracy Charges
R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Office, announced today that defendants Cesar Augusto Perez-Parra and Farouk Shaikh-Reyes, pled guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. These individuals were indicted along with co-defendant Ferney Tovar-Parra, in February 2005, Case No. 05-20124-Cr-Moore.
According to the Indictment, both defendants are associates of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). The FARC, first created in 1964, is the largest guerilla group in Colombia. The FARC hierarchy consists of a seven-member "Secretariat," with approximately 15,000 to 20,000 armed guerilla soldiers who are organized into sixty four (64) separate fronts. To effect its paramilitary goals, the FARC is involved in drug trafficking and terroristic activities including bombings, murders, kidnappings, highjackings, extortions, and mortar attacks upon government personnel.
According to the Indictment and affidavits filed with the court, from as early as November 2003 until February 2005, the defendants Tovar-Parra, Perez-Parra, and Shaikh-Reyes conspired to distribute large quantities of cocaine in Miami. The defendants promised to supply 1000 to 2000 kilograms of cocaine every 15 to 45 days to certain individuals, who were cooperating with law enforcement.
Defendant Tovar-Parra is currently pending extradition from Colombia to face the South Florida charges. He is alleged to be a senior high-ranking member of the 14th front of the FARC, responsible for overseeing coca fields and laboratories, and for collecting fees and taxes for the growing, processing, transporting, and sales of cocaine for the FARC organization. Defendant Cesar Perez-Parra is a narcotics distributor working for the FARC organization, as a representative of defendant Tovar-Parra. Defendant Farouk Shaikh-Reyes was also an associate of Tovar-Parra in facilitating the cocaine transactions.
Earlier today, defendant Tovar-Parra was named in the Annex to Executive Order 12978 (Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers), which was signed by President Clinton on October 21, 1995 to utilize economic sanctions authorities under the International Emergency Economic Power Act (IEEPA) to attack the financial empires built by the drug kingpins. The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) investigated and subsequently added Tovar-Parra to the Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers list, which results in the freezing of Tovar-Parra’s assets worldwide.
United States Attorney R. Alexander Acosta stated, “Earlier this week, the Rodriguez-Orejuela brothers' guilty plea closed the Cali chapter of the war on drugs. Today, we announce the first conviction of a FARC associate for narcotics trafficking. United States law enforcement is committed to ensure that the end of the Cartels is not an opportunity for others to seek narcotics profits. U.S. law enforcement has not gone away. With the help of our Colombian counterparts, United States law enforcement remains determined to stop the flow of illegal drugs and the violence it breeds.”
“The arrest, extradition and guilty pleas of FARC associates Cesar Perez-Parra and Farouk Shaikh-Reyes are a victory for law enforcement both in the United States and Colombia," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville. "I would like to thank our partners in Colombia and Chile for their efforts in helping us pursue justice regardless of international borders. Today, we took a step in the right direction, but it is by no means the end of our journey for justice."
Mr. Acosta commended the Miami Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration for their investigative efforts. Mr. Acosta also expressed his appreciation for DEA/Bogotá's efforts, especially for their assistance in helping to coordinate the arrests. In addition, Mr. Acosta noted that this case would not have been possible without the outstanding cooperation of the Government of Colombia in its dedicated efforts to fight the war on drugs. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tony Gonzalez and Cristina Maxwell.