Colombian nationals used ‘narco-submarines’ to smuggle cocaine, DOJ says
Six Colombian nationals have pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to use “narco-submarines” to smuggle more than 19,000 kilograms, or almost 42,000 pounds, of cocaine to the Sinaloa cartel.
According to the Department of Justice, the defendants were part of a criminal organization that built and maintained narco-submarines that were used to send cocaine from Colombia into the Pacific Ocean where it was collected by members of the Sinaloa cartel near Oaxaca, Mexico.
Between July 2015 and March 2016, three of the group’s submarines were intercepted by U.S. investigators in international waters. In total, nearly 42,000 pounds of cocaine was seized in the incidents. Several men were eventually arrested and extradited to the U.S.
The defendants were identified as Fernando Pineda-Jimenez, a.k.a. “Padrino,” Luis Ernesto Perez-Quevedo, a.k.a. “Acuerpado,” Adrian Luna-Munoz, a.k.a. “Vaca,” Yesid Eduardo Torres-Solis, a.k.a. “Perro,” Hector Ruiz-Angulo, a.k.a. “Maestro” and Rodrigo Pineda-Torres, a.k.a. “Gordo.”
Pineda-Torres was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months in federal prison. The other five each face a minimum mandatory of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum term of life imprisonment.
Pineda-Jimenez was identified as, and admitted to, being the boss of the organization, the DOJ said.
One co-conspirator, Jimmy Riascos-Riascos, had already pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy in Jan. 2020. He was sentenced to 24 years and 4 months. An eighth co-conspirator, Alonso Pineda-Torres, a.k.a. “Galladita,” is still awaiting sentencing.
The investigation was conducted by a joint task force that included agents and analysts from the DEA, FBI, ICE, the Coast Guard, the Navy and the U.S. Southern Command.