News Release
March 5, 2008

Jamaican Drug Kingpin Leebert Ramcharan Convicted of Federal Drug Charges

FEB 5 -- Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Miami Field Division, and R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida (SDFL), announced the convictions of Leebert Ramcharan, a Foreign Narcotics Kingpin, and Donovan Williams, another Jamaican national, after a seven-week jury trial in the SDFL. Both defendants were convicted of conspiracy to import and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 963 and 846, respectively. They face a maximum statutory sentence of life imprisonment. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 23, 2008.

Ramcharan was designated as a Foreign Narcotics Kingpin by President Bush in June 2004 under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (FNKDA). The purpose of the FNKDA is to deny significant foreign narcotics traffickers, their related businesses, and their operatives access to the U.S. financial system and all trade and transactions involving U.S. companies and individuals. The FNKDA authorizes the President to take these actions when he determines that a foreign narcotics trafficker presents a threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.

Ramcharan and Williams were arrested in the Montego Bay area of Jamaica in 2004, and extradited from Jamaica to the United States in 2007, after their extradition was approved by the Jamaican Supreme Court. The trial against Ramcharan and Williams commenced January 15, 2008, and included testimony from more than 15 witnesses, including agents and officers from the DEA, Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF), and the Royal Bahamian Police Force (RBPF), as well as civilian witnesses from Colombia, the United States, and Jamaica. In addition, the government introduced more than 100 items of evidence, including wiretaps on the telephones of the co-conspirators by the Colombian government, and the Bahamian government in 2002-2003. According to the evidence presented at trial, Ramcharan was the leader of a sophisticated operation in Jamaica. From 1998 through 2004, this cocaine smuggling organization received as much as 15,000 kilograms of cocaine imported via go fast vessels from the northern coast of Colombia. The cocaine was then stored in Jamaica, and subsequently it was transported to the Bahamas on boats and airplanes. Ultimately, the cocaine was imported into the U.S. for distribution and sale in south Florida.

Mr. Acosta commended the extraordinary cooperation of the DEA Miami Field Division, DEA Nassau Country Office, DEA Jamaica Country Office, DEA Bogotá Country Office, the Colombian National Police, the JCF and the RBPF.

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