News Release
July 17, 2002

Joe Kilmer, Special Agent, Public Information Officer


photo - cocaine powder and coca leafSpecial Agent Thomas W. Raffanello of the DEA Miami Field Division, in conjunction with Guy Lewis, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida announce the unsealing of a Federal Indictment charging Ivan Lopez VANEGAS, Doris Mangeri SALAZAR, Nayef Bin Sultan Bin Fawwaz AL-SHAALAN, and Jose Maria CLEMENTE with Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute Cocaine. AL-SHAALAN is a Saudi Arabian Prince; however, he is not in the direct line of succession to the Throne. AL-SHAALAN is a former resident of South Florida from the late 1970's to the mid 1980's.

Special Agent in Charge Raffanello stated, "The Drug Enforcement Administration continues to aggressively investigate international drug trafficking organizations at its highest level worldwide. We have a proven track record over the last three decades showing that we will tirelessly pursue drug traffickers regardless of their position or status within any country if their actions further the flow of narcotics."

The investigation began in the Spring of 2000 by the DEA in Miami and revealed that in early to mid 1998, VANEGAS and SALAZAR approached co-conspirators in Colombia and stated that they had contact with AL-SHAALAN, who could assist in the transportation of cocaine worldwide. In September 1998, several meetings were held in various countries to include Spain, Aruba, Venezuela, Colombia, and Miami, Florida regarding the plan to transport two tons of cocaine from Venezuela to France. In February 1999, a meeting in Aruba was attended by VANEGAS, SALAZAR, CLEMENTE, and AL-SHAALAN, at which time AL-SHAALAN agreed to facilitate the transportation of 2,000 kilograms of cocaine via his personal jet. AL-SHAALAN planned to use his diplomatic status to insure the safe transport of the cocaine from Venezuela to its final destination in Paris, France.

In May 1999, the cocaine was flown to France; however, later that month Spanish authorities seized approximately 190 kilograms of this cocaine. In June 1999, acting on information obtained from the Spanish authorities, French police seized an additional 804 kilograms of this cocaine in a suburb of Paris.

"This case is important for the DEA because it sends the message that corruption and abuse of power will not be tolerated. Intercepting the flow of drugs and significant drug profits is a critical issue of national security and a responsibility that we take very seriously," said Administrator Asa Hutchinson.

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