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News Release
December 8, 2005

Twenty-Four Members of International Drug & Money Laundering Organization Indicted

seized drugs
seized cash
seized cash

DEC 8 -- Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Miami Field Division, R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Brian J. Wimpling, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, announced the indictment of twenty-four individuals in connection with a large-scale drug distribution and money laundering organization.

The thirty-two (32) count indictment charges ten individuals with various counts of narcotics trafficking involving efforts to import cocaine and marijuana into the United States and distribute cocaine and marijuana in the south Florida area between 2000 and the present date. The indictment also charges twenty-two individuals with conspiring and committing various acts to launder the proceeds of the sale of these drugs. If convicted of the drug trafficking charges, the defendants face a maximum of life in prison. If convicted of money laundering, the defendants face a maximum of twenty years’ imprisonment.

Eight defendants were arrested and will made their initial appearances in federal court December 8, 2005. Three other defendants were arrested in the Dominican Republic and are expected to make their initial appearances in Miami federal court December 9.

“By following the money trail in this investigation, we were able to destroy the infrastructure of this international drug cartel responsible for smuggling thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Colombia through the Bahamas and into south Florida," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville. "DEA, along with our local and international counterparts in law enforcement, will seize and forfeit millions of dollars in assets derived from the illicit drug trafficking of this organization. The arrests and seizures this week show that international borders clearly do not provide safety or security for drug traffickers."

“This investigation and prosecution strikes at the heart of this international drug organization and is aimed at dismantling the entire drug trafficking organization, from top to bottom,” United States Attorney Acosta said. “The indictment disrupts every aspect of this drug trafficking network, bringing to justice those responsible for producing the cocaine in South America, those who imported it and sold it in the United States, those who funded and profited from the drug trade, and those who delivered the money back to the drug dealers.” Mr. Acosta commended the efforts of the DEA Miami Field Division, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the various local and international law enforcement agencies involved in the case.

Internal Revenue Service Special Agent in Charge Brian J. Wimpling added, “The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division will continue to utilize its expertise in unraveling complex financial crimes that facilitate and conceal narcotics trafficking in cases such as this."
"ICE is committed to working with its federal partners to shut down illegal drug trafficking enterprises that threaten the welfare of our communities,” said Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge of ICE in Miami.

In addition to the criminal charges against individuals, the indictment seeks the forfeiture of more than $36 million, as well as 28 domestic bank accounts.

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