News Release
June 18, 2007
Contact: Michael Sanders
Special Agent/PIO
Number: 504-840-1070

Six Arrested by DEA in Possession of 83 Kilograms of Cocaine

JUN 18 -- (New Orleans, Louisiana) – William J. Renton, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Field Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Jim Letten, United States Attorney, Eastern District of Louisiana, today announced six arrests and the seizure of 83 kilograms of cocaine HCL.

JOE PABON VALLECILLA, age 35, a citizen of Colombia, JAVIER RENTERIA, age 27, a citizen of Colombia, JOHN MARTINEZ, age 54, a citizen of Puerto Rico, CARLOS ENRIQUE SANTIAGO-CAPARROS, age 32, a citizen of Puerto Rico, FORTUNATO ALBORNOZ, age 35, a citizen of Colombia, and JAVIER COLON, age 32, a citizen of Puerto Rico, were charged yesterday in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute approximately eighty three (83) kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride, a Schedule II narcotic drug controlled substance.

According to court documents, law enforcement agents apprehended six men in St. Martin Parish in possession of three bags containing a total of 83 kilograms of cocaine. The cocaine had been sent by a Colombian drug trafficking organization via a petroleum vessel which arrived in Norco, Louisiana the night of June 13. Two stowaways and the cocaine were secreted inside the rudder housing of the vessel. The stowaways and the other men attempted to take the cocaine to Houston, Texas. During the course of the investigation, while en route to Houston, the six defendants were stopped by agents and arrested with the 182 pounds of cocaine.

Based on the investigation, a federal complaint was filed against JOE PABON VALLECILLA, JAVIER RENTERIA, JOHN MARTINEZ, CARLOS ENRIQUE SANTIAGO-CAPARROS, FORTUNATO ALBORNOZ, on Thursday, June 14, 2007.

If convicted, JOE PABON VALLECILLA, JAVIER RENTERIA, JOHN MARTINEZ, CARLOS ENRIQUE SANTIAGO-CAPARROS, FORTUNATO ALBORNOZ, face a term of imprisonment for a minimum of ten (10) years to life imprisonment, a fine of $4 million and five (5) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Special Agent in Charge William Renton, Jr, stated:

“This investigation of an alleged major international and interstate drug trafficking organization such as the one disrupted by this enforcement action is a significant accomplishment. I would like to applaud and commend the men and women of the participating law enforcement agencies for their around the clock efforts.”

The case was investigated the Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office. They were assisted by St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, United States Coast Guard, Terrebornne Parish Sheriff’s, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana State Police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

U. S. Attorney Letten reiterated that the complaint is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.