May 26, 2017
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
Major International Cocaine Transporter Extradited From Colombia
Bermudez-Vanegas Used Submarines, Airplanes to Move Tons of Cocaine to US
NEW YORK, N.Y. - - Later today Gustavo Bermudez-Vanegas will be arraigned at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, on an international cocaine distribution conspiracy charge. The defendant was arrested in Colombia on a provisional arrest warrant issued from the Eastern District of New York and subsequently extradited from Colombia to the United States on May 25, 2017.
The extradition was announced by James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration New York Division and Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
According to court documents, between February 2016 and July 2016, Bermudez-Vanegas conspired to use airplanes and submarines to transport tonnage quantities of cocaine from Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela through Central American countries to Mexico, for the purpose of unlawfully importing the cocaine into the United States for further distribution. Bermudez-Vanegas provided his transportation services to Mexico-based drug cartels.
“The United States has been besieged by traffickers bringing drugs into our country. In contrast, drug law enforcement has brought Bermudez-Vanegas, a significant trafficker who used submarines and planes, to our country to face charges for such crimes,” stated DEA Special-in-Charge Hunt.
“The United States will continue to prosecute international narcotics traffickers wherever they may be operating,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde. “As alleged, the defendant conspired to transport narcotics across several borders and continents, from South America to the United States. Now he faces justice in the Eastern District of New York, with the help of our law enforcement partners in Colombia, who effectuated his capture and extradition to the United States.” Ms. Rohde thanked the Department of Justice’s Office of International (OIA) for its assistance with the extradition of the defendant.
The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy.
If convicted, Bermudez-Vanegas faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics & Money Laundering Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Robotti, Hiral Mehta, and Ameet Kabrawala are in charge of the prosecution.