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Investigators Seize 52 Tons of Cocaine in Colombian-Based Drug Cartel Bust

  1. Lunar Loops
    This from Foxnews today:

    Investigators Seize 52 Tons of Cocaine in Colombian-Based Drug Cartel Bust
    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    MIAMI — One of the world's most hunted drug traffickers was among the 100 people arrested after a three-year investigation targeting an international Colombia-based drug cartel, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced Wednesday.
    About 52 tons of cocaine, 22 pounds of heroin, 770 pounds of marijuana and nearly $70 million in assets also were seized during simultaneous raids in the United States and Latin America. Officials in nine countries — Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Mexico and the United States — were involved in the operation. Investigators also uncovered and dismantled the wholesale drug distributors throughout local communities.
    "It's estimated the amount of cocaine supplied by this organization was enough to poison 37 million consumers," Colombia's anti-narcotics police said in a statement.
    "Operation Twin Oceans" targeted the Pablo RAYO-Montano drug trafficking organization, a cocaine ring responsible for smuggling more than 15 tons of cocaine per month from Colombia to the streets of the United States and Europe, according to DEA officials.
    The cartel's leader, Colombian-born Pablo Rayo Montano, had been on the run for a decade. He has lived in Sao Paulo for the past three years and was arrested by the Sensitive Investigations Unit of the Brazilian Federal Police in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at his home early Tuesday morning. DEA officials said the United States would seek to extradite Montano.
    Of the more than 30 arrests Tuesday, six were in the United States, including one in Los Angeles in which a federal agent posed as a pizza deliveryman, a DEA official said on condition of anonymity. Four people were arrested in Miami and one in Indianapolis.
    As part of the drug bust, three islands off the coast of Panama that are personally owned by the RAYO-Montano organization were seized, along with yachts, fishing trawlers, art galleries, the largest fishing and boating store in Panama and other organization commercial properties and businesses.
    "The Rayo-Montano organization had its own private, rogue navy to run a drug business that was nearly as sophisticated as a small nation," DEA Administrator Karen Tandy said in a statement Wednesday.
    "As well-equipped and complex as this enterprise was, it was a matter of time before law enforcement caught on, and now Rayo-Montano's decadent, drug-funded lifestyle has caught up with him. This morning, his real estate holdings went from three islands to one jail cell."
    The DEA says "Don Pablo" RAYO-Montano was the chief of a crime organization that used highly sophisticated technological methods to coordinate the movement of cocaine north and illegal drug proceeds south.
    The RAYO-Montano organization also has been associated with Colombian narco-terrorist groups such as the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and the Norte del Valle Cartel.
    The U.S. Justice Department designated RAYO-Montana as a "consolidated priority organization target" (CPOT) in October 2005. The so-called "CPOT List" — established in March 2002 — is a list of international drug kingpins responsible for the "command and control" of the most sophisticated and far-reaching drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.
    RAYO-Montano is the 42nd arrest of a CPOT since the program was launched.
    "Operation Twin Oceans sends a strong message from the U.S. Department of Justice to narcotics traffickers: We will seize your ill-gotten property, and we will take away the rewards of your violent trade," said Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.
    RAYO-Montano started as a simple drug transporter in Buenaventura, Colombia, almost 20 years ago, rose to prominence within the now-defunct Cali cartel and grew even more to head the worldwide RAYO-Montana, according to the DEA.
    The drug cartel used a number of vessels to smuggle loads of cocaine to the United States and Europe. RAYO-Montano's infrastructure included all aspects of cocaine production, international transportation and smuggling, wholesale distribution and money laundering.
    Maritime shipment originated on the west and northern coasts of Colombia and used fast boats, fishing boats, submersibles and containerized cargo vessels.
    Charges against the cartel include money laundering and conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. If convicted, the defendants could face sentences ranging from 10 years up to life imprisonment.
    Investigators from DEA offices in Miami, Tampa, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Indianapolis aided in the operation, as did officials from Cartagena and Bogota, Colombia; Sao Paulo, Brazil; San Jose, Costa Rica; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Mexico City; Panama City; Caracas, Venezuela; and Madrid, Spain.

Comments

  1. Alfa
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Three Islands, $70 Million in Assets Seized in DEA Drug Bust[/FONT][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]

    [SIZE=-1]‘Operation Twin Oceans’ nets Most-Wanted Kingpin and 52 Tons of Cocaine[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]

    Brazil, Colombia, Panama & U.S. Involved in Arrests
    [/SIZE]
    [/FONT][/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1](WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today announced the results of Operation Twin Oceans, a multi-jurisdictional investigation that targeted the Pablo RAYO-Montano drug trafficking organization (DTO), a cocaine ring responsible for smuggling more than 15 tons of cocaine per month from Colombia to the streets of the United States and Europe. An international coalition spearheaded by the Brazilian Federal Police, Panamanian Judicial Police, Colombian National Police, and DEA was responsible for dismantling this international drug cartel. This 3-year long investigation has resulted in over 100 arrests and the seizure of 47,555 kilograms of cocaine or the equivalent of 52 tons of cocaine, and nearly $70 million in assets.[/SIZE][/FONT]​
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]As part of Operation Twin Oceans, three islands off the coast of Panama, personally owned by the RAYO-Montano organization, were seized. Additional seizures included assets such as yachts, fishing trawlers, art galleries, the largest fishing and boating store in Panama, and other commercial properties and businesses owned by the RAYO-Montano Organization[/SIZE][/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]"The Rayo-Montano organization had its own private, rogue navy to run a drug business that was nearly as sophisticated as a small nation,” said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy. “As well-equipped and complex as this enterprise was, it was a matter of time before law enforcement caught on, and now Rayo-Montano’s decadent, drug-funded lifestyle has caught up with him. This morning, his real estate holdings went from three islands to one jail cell."[/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]“Don Pablo” RAYO-Montano was the commander and controller of a 21st Century criminal organization whose Information Technology-literate managers used highly sophisticated methods to coordinate the movement of cocaine north and illegal drug proceeds south. In addition, the organization has been associated with Colombian narco-terrorist organizations such as the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and the Norte del Valle Cartel. [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]RAYO-Montano was designated as a Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT) in October 2005. He was arrested by the Sensitive Investigations Unit (SIU) of the Brazilian Federal Police in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at his residence early Tuesday morning. The CPOT program is the cornerstone of the U.S. Department of Justice’s drug enforcement priority targeting strategy. In March 2002, the Office of the Attorney General announced a comprehensive six-part drug enforcement strategy designed to identify and target the world’s most significant drug supply organizations and their related components. The central element of the strategy was the development of the CPOT List, a rogue’s gallery of international kingpins who were responsible for the “command and control” of the most sophisticated and far reaching drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. RAYO-Montano is the 42nd arrest of a CPOT since the inception of the program.[/SIZE][/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]"Operation Twin Oceans sends a strong message from the U.S. Department of Justice to narcotics traffickers: we will seize your ill-gotten property, and we will take away the rewards of your violent trade," said Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Department of Justice Criminal Division. [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Operation Twin Oceans revealed a far-reaching cocaine trafficking and money laundering organization based out of Colombia that used a vast array of vessels to smuggle multi-ton loads of cocaine to the United States and Europe. RAYO-Montano started as a simple drug transporter in Buenaventura, Colombia almost two decades ago and evolved into the head of a world-wide criminal cartel. RAYO-Montano masterminded a comprehensive infrastructure that included all aspects of the cocaine trafficking hierarchy, to include production, international transportation/smuggling, wholesale distribution and money laundering. Maritime transshipment originated on both the west and northern coasts of Colombia and utilized fast boats, fishing boats, submersibles, and containerized cargo vessels, hence, the operational name “Twin Oceans.” [/SIZE][/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]As a result of outstanding international cooperation, Operation Twin Oceans was able to identify, target and dismantle all levels of criminal activity, from the Colombian source of supply to wholesale distributors in our local communities. Throughout the early morning hours of May 16, 2006, members of the RAYO-Montano organization were awakened with the execution of arrest and search warrants by international, federal, state and local law enforcement officers. [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Indictments were returned in Operation Twin Oceans by grand juries supervised by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida and the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section in Washington D.C. The charges include money laundering, and conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. If convicted, the defendants prosecuted in this investigation will face sentences ranging from a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to life imprisonment. [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]The law enforcement team in Operation Twin Oceans included an international coalition of investigative agencies spearheaded by DEA offices located in Miami, FL, Tampa, FL, New York, NY, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, Indianapolis, IN, Cartagena and Bogota, Colombia, Sao Paulo, Brazil, San Jose, Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Guayaquil, Ecuador, Mexico City, Mexico, Panama City, Panama, Caracas, Venezuela, and Madrid, Spain. Critical to the successful conclusion of the operation were the efforts of the Sensitive Investigations Unit (SIU) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Colombian National Police Antinarcotics Judicial Unit in Cartagena, Colombia, the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS) and Office of International Affairs (OIA), and our international law enforcement partners located in the countries of Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Strategic intelligence and operational support was provided by the DEA Special Operations Division based in Washington, D.C., the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy. [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1] View attachment 725
    U.S. Coast Guard RHIB (right) intercepts a go-fast boat which had 744 kilos of cocaine on it.
    View attachment 726
    Submersible used by the Rayo-Montano organization.
    View attachment 727
    One of the many assets seized as part of Operation Twin Oceans.
    View attachment 728
    [/SIZE]744 kilos of cocaine seized.[/FONT]
  2. Benga
    don't remember what the latest large scale bust but 52,000 kilos sounds like a lot this time...
    would anyone have statistics on the lastest estimated annual cocaine exports from south america handy ? I'm sure it's way more than 52 tons but I was wondering what percentage this could represent.
    ----
    actually found some 2002 statistic with an estimate of an annual 600 metric tons for export... 52 tons seems quite a bust
    b
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