News Release
June 12, 2002
Contact: Special Agent Tom Hinojosa, DEA Headquarters, 202-307-7977
             Special Agent Liz Jordan, DEA New York, 212-337-2906

Nine Month Investigation Brings Down Heroin and Cocaine Traffickers

photo - heroinAsa Hutchinson, Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the takedown of a major international heroin and cocaine ring today. Twenty-five defendants were arrested following a nine-month investigation involving the coordinated efforts of DEA offices across the globe, including foreign offices in Bogota, Caracas, Quito, Guatemala, as well as DEA domestic offices in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and the Special Operations Division in Virginia. The arrests and seizures were internationally as well as in the United States, including New York and Philadelphia.

"Busting up the Garcia-Giraldo drug ring shows how the violent drug trade is an international problem--and that it requires international cooperation," Hutchinson said. "The drug traffickers are savvy, well-financed and well-armed, and they don't recognize the rule of law in any country."

The organization, headed by Colombian national Jose Jairo Garcia-Giraldo, operated out of Pereira, Colombia, and coordinated and shipped multi-kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine to the United States. The shipments were transported by courier into the U.S. through internal ingestion and/or through concealment in the lining of clothing and suitcases. The drugs were transported through U.S. cities, such as Miami and Houston, before arrival in New York. From New York, the drugs were transported to other East Coast cities, such as Boston and Philadelphia.

Provisional arrest warrants for Jose Jairo Garcia-Giraldo and two of his lieutenants have been issued and extradition requests are pending.

During the course of this investigation, and prior to June 12, sixteen arrests have been made, 46 kilograms of heroin, 21 kilograms of cocaine and a half million U.S. dollars have been seized.

Felix Jimenez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA New York Field Division, stated, "The DEA is committed to taking drugs off the street of New York and every other city. I'm proud of our agents and their effective cooperation with counterparts in Colombia and around the world."

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