FEB 28 (TAMPA, Fla.) – Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and Robert E. O’Neill, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announced that earlier this week U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore sentenced Jose Rivas (61, Colombia) to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine while onboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Rivas pleaded guilty on December 17, 2012.
According to court documents, Rivas and a co-conspirator departed Colombia in a vessel smuggling 568 kilograms of cocaine. On August 14, 2012, Rivas and his co-conspirator were interdicted by the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea.
This case was investigated by the Panama Express North Strike Force, a standing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), comprised of agents and analysts from the DEA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and U.S. Southern Command's Joint Interagency Task Force South.