Colombian drug kingpin ‘El Loco’ pleads guilty

By Dialogo
October 15, 2014



Cooperative efforts between the United States and authorities in Colombia and Honduras have led to two victories in the international fight against drug trafficking.

As the leader of an international drug trafficking organization, Colombian Daniel “El Loco” Barrera was accustomed to giving orders to his criminal associates, but this time El Loco was on the receiving end of instructions as stood before U.S. federal Judge Leo Glasser October 9 in Brooklyn, New York. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder tens of millions of dollars in cocaine profits.

“Be patient and perhaps you’ll learn something about the criminal justice system of our country,” Glasser said.

El Loco acknowledged that he understood his rights and that the charge carries a possible penalty of 20 years in federal prison and deportation, but otherwise said little during the court hearing. Brooklyn marked the third court he has appeared in, having faced additional drug trafficking charges in federal court in New York City and in Miami, Florida. In those cases, El Loco faces possible life in prison. Barrera’s defense lawyer, Ruben Oliva, is expected to ask judicial authorities to transfer the Brooklyn case to U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan for sentencing.

Among other groups, El Loco worked with the terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), purchasing cocaine paste from them and processing about 400 tons of it annually from 1998 until 2012. He was also a key supplier for the Don Lucho drug trafficking group.

“As part of his role as one of the world’s most notorious narcotics traffickers, the defendant also laundered millions of dollars of narcotics proceeds,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Soumya Dayananda
said.

U.S. federal law enforcement officials suspect El Loco had plastic surgery to change his appearance to avoid capture, even going so far as to put acid on his fingers to avoid fingerpint identification.

“This is the end of the last big capo of the 1980s,” said Gen. José Roberto León Riaño, who was director of the Colombian National Police at the time of El Loco’s arrest.

Honduran police arrested alleged Los Valles leaders

Together, brothers Miguel Arnulfo Valle Valle and Luis Alonso Valle Valle allegedly ran one of the biggest drug trafficking groups in Honduras.

But on October 5, Honduran police captured the two brothers together in the department of Copán, where Los Valles is based. The arrests were part of a police operation in which they arrested another brother, José Inocente Valle Valle, another alleged leader of the drug trafficking organization.

The suspects are wanted in the United States for drug trafficking. U.S. authorities are seeking their extradition.

The arrests of the Valle Valle brothers culminated a joint, cooperative effort between Honduran police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Honduras and the U.S. are cooperating in the battle against international drug trafficking, primarily by sharing information and resources.

Los Valles is "one of the most prolific trafficking organizations in Central America,” according to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The drug trafficking group is responsible for the distribution of tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the United States each month, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. Los Valles is aligned with the Sinaloa Cartel, a large Mexican transnational criminal organization.

On August 20, OFAC levied financial sanctions against Miguel and Luis Valle Valle, as well as four businesses associated with the drug trafficking organization. Those businesses included a cattle ranch, a milk farm, and coffee production companies. OFAC sanctioned the brothers and their businesses under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, which allows U.S. officials to freeze all assets held by alleged drug traffickers in the United States. The sanctions also make it illegal for U.S. residents and businesses from conducting any financial transactions with suspected drug kingpins and their businesses.

“[The United States Treasury Department] stands with the Honduran authorities to combat the drug trafficking threat," said OFAC Director Adam Szubin.

Two days before the arrests of Miguel and Luis Valle Valley, about 200 Honduran police agents, prosecutors and personnel from the Administrative Office of Seized Assets (OABI) confiscated more than 50 properties, including luxury homes, country estates, bank accounts, a hardware store and a café that allegedly belonged to members of the Valle family in the departments of Copán and Cortés.

The recent arrests and asset seizures is part of a broad strategy to bring down the drug trafficking organization. Honduran police and U.S. security forces are cooperating in the fight against Los Valles.

For example, in July, federal law enforcement agents in the U.S. state of Florida arrested Digna Valle Valle, a sister of the Valle brothers. U.S. federal law enforcement agents accuse her of participating in the family drug trafficking business.

And in early October, in Tegucigalpa, agents with the Honduran National Police arrested Héctor Emilio Fernández, according to National Police Director Ramón Sabillón. The United States is seeking the extradition of Fernández for drug trafficking.


Cooperative efforts between the United States and authorities in Colombia and Honduras have led to two victories in the international fight against drug trafficking.

As the leader of an international drug trafficking organization, Colombian Daniel “El Loco” Barrera was accustomed to giving orders to his criminal associates, but this time El Loco was on the receiving end of instructions as stood before U.S. federal Judge Leo Glasser October 9 in Brooklyn, New York. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder tens of millions of dollars in cocaine profits.

“Be patient and perhaps you’ll learn something about the criminal justice system of our country,” Glasser said.

El Loco acknowledged that he understood his rights and that the charge carries a possible penalty of 20 years in federal prison and deportation, but otherwise said little during the court hearing. Brooklyn marked the third court he has appeared in, having faced additional drug trafficking charges in federal court in New York City and in Miami, Florida. In those cases, El Loco faces possible life in prison. Barrera’s defense lawyer, Ruben Oliva, is expected to ask judicial authorities to transfer the Brooklyn case to U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan for sentencing.

Among other groups, El Loco worked with the terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), purchasing cocaine paste from them and processing about 400 tons of it annually from 1998 until 2012. He was also a key supplier for the Don Lucho drug trafficking group.

“As part of his role as one of the world’s most notorious narcotics traffickers, the defendant also laundered millions of dollars of narcotics proceeds,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Soumya Dayananda
said.

U.S. federal law enforcement officials suspect El Loco had plastic surgery to change his appearance to avoid capture, even going so far as to put acid on his fingers to avoid fingerpint identification.

“This is the end of the last big capo of the 1980s,” said Gen. José Roberto León Riaño, who was director of the Colombian National Police at the time of El Loco’s arrest.

Honduran police arrested alleged Los Valles leaders

Together, brothers Miguel Arnulfo Valle Valle and Luis Alonso Valle Valle allegedly ran one of the biggest drug trafficking groups in Honduras.

But on October 5, Honduran police captured the two brothers together in the department of Copán, where Los Valles is based. The arrests were part of a police operation in which they arrested another brother, José Inocente Valle Valle, another alleged leader of the drug trafficking organization.

The suspects are wanted in the United States for drug trafficking. U.S. authorities are seeking their extradition.

The arrests of the Valle Valle brothers culminated a joint, cooperative effort between Honduran police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Honduras and the U.S. are cooperating in the battle against international drug trafficking, primarily by sharing information and resources.

Los Valles is "one of the most prolific trafficking organizations in Central America,” according to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The drug trafficking group is responsible for the distribution of tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the United States each month, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. Los Valles is aligned with the Sinaloa Cartel, a large Mexican transnational criminal organization.

On August 20, OFAC levied financial sanctions against Miguel and Luis Valle Valle, as well as four businesses associated with the drug trafficking organization. Those businesses included a cattle ranch, a milk farm, and coffee production companies. OFAC sanctioned the brothers and their businesses under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, which allows U.S. officials to freeze all assets held by alleged drug traffickers in the United States. The sanctions also make it illegal for U.S. residents and businesses from conducting any financial transactions with suspected drug kingpins and their businesses.

“[The United States Treasury Department] stands with the Honduran authorities to combat the drug trafficking threat," said OFAC Director Adam Szubin.

Two days before the arrests of Miguel and Luis Valle Valley, about 200 Honduran police agents, prosecutors and personnel from the Administrative Office of Seized Assets (OABI) confiscated more than 50 properties, including luxury homes, country estates, bank accounts, a hardware store and a café that allegedly belonged to members of the Valle family in the departments of Copán and Cortés.

The recent arrests and asset seizures is part of a broad strategy to bring down the drug trafficking organization. Honduran police and U.S. security forces are cooperating in the fight against Los Valles.

For example, in July, federal law enforcement agents in the U.S. state of Florida arrested Digna Valle Valle, a sister of the Valle brothers. U.S. federal law enforcement agents accuse her of participating in the family drug trafficking business.

And in early October, in Tegucigalpa, agents with the Honduran National Police arrested Héctor Emilio Fernández, according to National Police Director Ramón Sabillón. The United States is seeking the extradition of Fernández for drug trafficking.
speechless, how awful.
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