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Colombian Drug Lord Bombshell: “I was secretly working for the feds”

January 28, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Colombian Drug Lord Bombshell: “I was secretly working for the feds”

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When an elusive Colombian drug lord accused of cocaine-trafficking was extradited to Miami back in November, prosecutors described Henry De Jesus Lopez Londoño also known as ‘Mi Sangre’ as one the most “prolific drug dealers” in history

However, U.S. authorities failed to mention one little detail.

Lopez Londoño was actually recruited as a confidential informant — or “deep cover mole” — by two federal law enforcement agencies, his attorneys revealed in court documents that were unsealed on Thursday.

In a bombshell, defense attorneys portrayed Lopez Londoño as a coveted operative who made a deal with the feds and put his life on the line to assist with the war on drugs.

He infiltrated the violent Sinaloa drug-trafficking cartel led by Mexican kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, as well as paramilitary organizations and members of Colombia’s al-Qaida terrorist network in Colombia.

The Colombian drug lord was arrested in Argentina back in November 2012

Claiming that he was assured “favorable treatment” by agents, Lopez Londoño’s attorneys argue that he provided them with inside knowledge of the organizations, production plants, drug paths, and cocaine shipments and maintained that his tips led to at least two major U.S. seizures.

Although he is known in the trafficking underworld as “Mi Sangre” or “My Blood.” Agents referred to him by his code name, “Assis.”

The filings from his defense claim that Lopez Londoño worked formally for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the DEA as an informant — for a period that spans most of the time he is accused of importing shipments of cocaine into the U.S.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Miami verified that Lopez Londoño was once a “confidential source” for ICE between 2010 and 2011, in a response also unsealed Thursday.

However, prosecutors said the DEA “never” formally used him as an informant. Prosecutors also dispute that he helped the feds throughout the span of his trafficking indictment,  according to a report  by The Miami Herald.

Lopez Londoño, who has been charged along with six others on a conspiracy charge of importing and distributing over five kilos of cocaine between 2006 and 2012, is set to go to trial in late October. Four of his co-conspirators have pleaded guilty and are cooperating.

‘Mi Sangre’ during his extradition to the United States back in November.

His attorneys argue that he signed agreements with ICE and then the DEA during meetings in Cartagena in 2009 and 2010. The agencies also promised to provide his family with potential asylum in U.S. — along with “favorable treatment for him once he came.”

As a result of Lopez Londoño’s “arrangement with ICE, he undertook infiltration assignments among Colombia’s paramilitary organizations, at great personal risk, to uncover money laundering, drug, and weapons trafficking activities in Colombia during the relevant periods of [his] indictment,” his attorneys argued in court documents.

Lopez Londoño’s lawyers have taken the decisive step of revealing his once-secret role for the feds to thwart his prosecution under a rare legal strategy identified as the public authority defense.

His lead attorney, Arturo V. Hernandez, argues that during the time his client is accused of breaking U.S. drug-trafficking laws, he was only carrying out his assignments for agents and therefore cannot be punished for any misconduct.

Hernandez asserts the indictment is “defective” and that the first U.S. prosecutor intentionally withheld the defendant’s role as a government informant from the jury.

An Argentine attorney who represented Lopez Londoño in his fight against extradition to the U.S. also scrutinized authorities for denying information about his client’s role as an informant for federal investigators.

“For four years, Lopez Londoño fought the U.S. extradition and the U.S. Government never once informed Argentine judicial authorities that the defendant had, for a significant period, worked for the U.S. Government,” Daniel Fedel, an attorney, said in a statement. “Had this been confirmed, Lopez Londoño would not have been extradited.”

According to his legal team, Lopez Londoño fled from Colombia to Argentina back in 2008 and began his undercover work for a string of federal agencies, requiring him to return to his homeland to penetrate drug groups.

They said he came back to Argentina a couple of months before he was indicted in 2012, saying he feared for his life in his native country — not because of the case in Miami. Prosecutors, however, said he fled to Argentina after the indictment was filed.

Lopez Londoño was the head of the right-wing Colombian paramilitary group also known as the AUC over ten years ago, prosecutors revealed. He later became a boss of the Urabeños gang in Colombia.

When authorities in Argentina apprehended him in October 2012, they said Lopez Londoño had passports from seven countries to avoid being captured, and that he had entered the country with a fake passport while pretending as a Venezuelan businessman.

He sought asylum, but his request was denied, and after a fierce legal fight he was extradited four years later.

‘MI Sangre’ says he also infiltrated the Sinaloa cartel led by recently extradited drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

In his Miami case, Lopez Londoño filed an affidavit in which he claimed he first had communications with a U.S. agency in 2008 through an AUC member.

Agents with the Treasury Department, he added, wanted him to assist in investigating extensive drug trafficking and money laundering groups in Colombia. He said the next year; he started his work as an informant.

In 2009, he said he formalized his undercover work in meetings with agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Cartegena. “I became a documented informant for U.S. law enforcement, and signed two separate contracts,” he stated in the affidavit.

During that period, ‘Mi Sangre’ worked with five ICE agents and three DEA agents while infiltrating and providing information on several targets — including the Guzman, Ubarbeños and Los Rastrojos groups.

The Colombian drug lord said in 2010, he was informed of an “internal conflict” between ICE and the DEA agents over who would be managing his activities as an informant. He said ICE agents told him to stop reporting to the DEA.

“Due to the partnership of DEA with the Colombian police, I had ongoing concerns that my activities would become known to the Colombian police that I believed were corrupt and in the pay of the large cartels,” Lopez Londoño stated.

“If my activities on behalf of U.S. law enforcement had been leaked to the criminal cartels I was infiltrating, it would have cost me my life and possibly that of my family,” he added.

With information from the Miami Herald

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