Cali Cartel Leader Extradited to United States
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, U.S. Attorneys Marcos D. Jimenez (Southern District of Florida) and David N. Kelley (Southern District of New York), DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy and Miguel J. Garcia, Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced that Miguel Rodriguez-Orejuela was extradited from Colombia to the United States to face narcotics trafficking and money laundering charges. Rodriguez-Orejuela, one of the alleged leaders and founders of the Cali Cartel arrived in Miami. Rodriguez-Orejuela, along with his brother, Gilberto, is charged in an indictment from the Southern District of Florida with conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and conspiracy to launder drug proceeds. The charges pending against Rodriguez-Orejuela are the result of a multi-year investigation in the Southern District of Florida, known as Operation Cornerstone. Operation Cornerstone, a joint ICE and DEA investigation has resulted in the seizure of almost 50,000 kilograms of cocaine and $15 million in U.S. currency, and the prosecutions of approximately 100 defendants. DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy said that "Miguel Rodriguez-Orejuela will now face justice in a U.S. court of law where he will answer to American citizens who suffered from his relentless poisoning of our neighborhoods. This extradition demonstrates drug kingpins can try to legitimize and launder their billions of dollars of dirty drug money, but law enforcement will reveal these criminal undertakings for what they are and will put them out of business permanently." Rodriguez-Orejuela is scheduled to make an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Miami on March 14.