MIAMI - A leader of one of the militarized Colombian drug-trafficking organizations known as Bandas Criminales (BACRIMS), was indicted Tuesday, following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the FBI.
BACRIMS seeks to fill the power void left by the fall of the Norte Valle Cartel and the dissolution of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia.
A Miami federal grand jury returned the indictment against Diego Perez Henao, aka, Diego Rastrojo, 39, a Colombian national. Perez Henao is alleged to be a leader of one of the BACRIMS. The indictment alleges that he conspired to manufacture and distribute more than five kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine, knowing that the cocaine would be unlawfully imported into the United States.
If convicted, Perez Henao faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
"International drug cartels pose a direct and immediate threat to our national security," said Anthony V. Mangione, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Miami.
"Drug cartels have an uncanny ability to adapt to law enforcement pressures. The combined efforts of ICE HSI and our law enforcement partners are designed to keep the pressure on the cartels."
The indictment of Perez Henao follows previous indictments returned in the Southern District of Florida against the following BACRIM leaders and associates:
- Ramon Alberto Quintero-Sanclemente, aka, "La Maquina,"
- Juan Carlos Rivera-Ruiz, aka, "06,"
- Jaime Alberto Marin-Zamora, aka, "Beto Marin,"
- Rafael Alvarez Pineda, aka, "Chepe,"
- German Bustos Alarcon, aka, "Puma,"
- Juan Diego Montoya-Bernal, aka, "Mechas,"
- Jesus Maria Sanchez-Jimenez, aka, "Scooby," and
- Franklin William McField-Bent, "Buda."
On Wednesday, during the announcement of the indictment against Perez Henao, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo A. Ferrer announced the formation of a unit within the Narcotics Section of the U.S. Attorney's Office, dedicated to dismantling emerging Bandas Criminales.
This is the first such unit in the nation specifically designed to target the emerging BACRIMs.