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Colombian drug lords extradited to New York for smuggling cocaine, heroin aboard historic Spanish vessel

January 29, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Colombian drug lords extradited to New York for smuggling cocaine, heroin aboard historic Spanish vessel

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An alleged Colombian drug trafficker accused of conspiring to smuggle multi-kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine to New York City aboard a historic Royal Spanish vessel was extradited to the United States earlier this week.

In a press release, Justice Department officials and Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City said Jorge Alberto Saido-Alvarez, appeared in Manhattan’s Southern District Federal Court after arriving in New York from Colombia on Thursday afternoon.

Alvarez, who is the second Colombian drug trafficker in the case extradited to the U.S., attempted to smuggle at least eight kilograms of cocaine aboard the emblematic Juan Sebastian de Elcano Royal Spanish Navy training vessel between April and May of 2014.

According to a federal indictment, Alvarez and co-conspirator Jorge Luis Hoayeck, operated an international narcotics trafficking operation out of the Colombian port city of Cartenga.

The Colombian government previously extradited Hoayeck in November of 2016.

Prosecutors say the two men regularly supplied New York City-based traffickers with kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine.

The drugs were then distributed throughout New York and Connecticut.

Law enforcement officials said in April 2014, Alvarez and Hoayeck recruited two Spanish midshipmen, training to become Spanish Navy officers, aboard the Juan Sebastian de Elcano, while the vessel visited Cartagena during a six-month voyage beginning in Cadiz, Spain.

Saido-Alvarez and Hoayeck allegedly paid the two officers to conceal the drugs on board the historic 1927 schooner, which acts as a floating embassy.

Officials said the ship set sail for New York, where the two midshipmen delivered the narcotics to local drug traffickers in the Bronx.

Prosecutors charged Alvarez and Hoayeck with two counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, two counts of First Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance.

The men also face two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Conspiracy in the Second Degree, and are charged under New York State’s kingpin statute designating them as Major Traffickers, which carries a possible life prison sentence.

Officials said the arrests were the result of a multi-nation collaborative effort involving the DEA-led New York Drug Enforcement Joint Task Force, New York’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office, the Civil Guard of Spain and Colombian National Police.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, along with U.S. Immigration, and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Marshals Service also assisted in the investigation.

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