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Supervisor of international drug trafficking conspiracy sentenced to prison in Boston after thousands of kilos seized



Photo courtesy of DEA

BOSTON – A Colombian man, who was extradited from Colombia after indictment, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Boston for his role in an international drug trafficking organization.

According to the Department of Justice, Henry Carrillo-Ramirez, 52, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge William G. Young to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release. In November 2019, Carrillo-Ramirez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and four counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of five kilograms or more of cocaine on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Carrillo-Ramirez was indicted in April 2017 and extradited from Colombia in April 2019.

Since 2013, Carrillo-Ramirez and at least four co-conspirators were involved in a conspiracy that trafficked thousands of kilograms of cocaine, sourced in Colombia, by boat via Venezuela to Spain, Puerto Rico, and other locations. The cocaine was sourced from the Catatumbo region of Colombia and transported to Isla Margarita, Venezuela. Thereafter – based on an agreed-upon date, time, sea coordinates, and code word – small motorboats carrying the cocaine would meet a fishing vessel located offshore onto which the cocaine was transferred and transported to points in Europe and the Caribbean. Carrillo-Ramirez played an indispensable part in the conspiracy – organizing the shipments and transportation of the cocaine from Colombia to Venezuela, managing logistics, providing at-sea coordinates, and serving as the communications hub of the conspiracy.

It is estimated that Carrillo-Ramirez and his co-conspirators successfully shipped approximately 1,200 kilograms of cocaine to Spain in June 2014. In all, law enforcement seized at least 2,235 kilograms of cocaine from Carrillo-Ramirez’s drug trafficking conspiracy.

In August 2014, an international law enforcement operation located and boarded a vessel travelling from South America to Spain and seized 960 kilograms of cocaine. In November 2014, an allied British vessel carrying U.S. Coast Guard officials interdicted a boat arranged by Carrillo-Ramirez and others destined for Puerto Rico that was approximately 30 nautical miles west of Montseratt. Once the vessel was stopped, the crew was observed jettisoning bales of cocaine, which were recovered and weighed 180 kilograms. The remaining bales were lost at sea. In December 2014, the Spanish Guardia Civil boarded another vessel in international waters arranged by Carrillo-Ramirez and others and seized an additional 728 kilos of cocaine. In August 2015, U.S. investigators disabled a Yamaha power boat in the Farjardo coast area of Puerto Rico that was arranged by Carrillo and others. A search of the proximate area recovered 13 bales containing nearly 400 kilograms of cocaine.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division, made the announcement. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section Judicial Attachés in Bogotá, Colombia, worked with law enforcement partners in Colombia to secure the arrest and extradition of Carrillo-Ramirez to the United States. Valuable assistance was provided by the Colombian National Police, the Spanish Guardia Civil and the Portuguese Air Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Estes of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.

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