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The Drug Wars

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Major Colombian Narcotics Runner is Brought to New York to Stand Trial

April 29th 2013

War on Drugs

A Colombian drug-smuggling kingpin suspected of being one of the most significant narcotics traffickers in the world was arraigned in a Manhattan federal courtroom on Friday in front of U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan, according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials.

Jose Evaristo Linares Castillo, who had been extradited from Colombia on charges that he conspired to import ton-quantities of cocaine into the United States in order to provide material support to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the “Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia,” or “FARC”), a Marxist revolutionary group, according to the indictment.

The FARC is designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Jose Evaristo Linares Castillo, a Colombian citizen, was designated a Consolidated Priority Organization Target (“CPOT”) by the Department of Justice, a rarely used designation for narcoterrorists and their associates. In February 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Linares Castillo as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker.

The 47-year-old Castillo, who was arrested by Colombian drug enforcement officers in May 2012, arrived in the Southern District of New York on Thursday, according to the DEA.

“As alleged, Linares Castillo ran cocaine laden aircrafts from Colombia, through Venezuela, Honduras, and into Mexico for distribution onto American streets. He also allegedly collaborated with the FARC to secure safe passage of drugs through Colombia and Venezuela," said DEA Special-Agent-in-Charge Brian Crowell.=

“As alleged, Linares Castillo was a drug kingpin of the first order who consorted with, and paid-off, known terrorists to ensure the safe passage of narcotics that were destined for the United States," added Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

According to the allegations in the Indictment:

The Indictment charges Linares Castillo in three counts. Count One charges him with conspiracy to possess and to distribute cocaine on board an aircraft owned by a U.S. citizen or registered in the U.S.; to import cocaine into the United States; and to distribute cocaine knowing and intending that it be imported into the U.S. Count Two charges Linares Castillo with narcoterrorism conspiracy. Count Three charges him with material support conspiracy. Counts One and Two carry a maximum penalty of life in prison; Count Three carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Jim Kouri is an investigagtive law enforcement reporter for The Examiner


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