A Colombian drug trafficker was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for conspiring to distribute more than 30,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States.
According to the Justice Department, Carlos Gentil Ordonez Martinez, 50, pleaded guilty in November 2019 to his pivotal participation in a massive international drug smuggling operation.
He was sentenced on Aug. 4 in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
“It is fitting that the defendant, who trafficked in massive amounts of cocaine to be sold at high prices in the United States, will now pay for his crimes by forfeiting his freedom for more than 17 years and forfeiting $10 million in criminal proceeds,” said Acting United States Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis. “This Office and its law enforcement partners will continue to work tirelessly to bring national and international narcotraffickers to justice.”
The operation ran from 2009 to 2014. The drugs, according to court filings, originated in labs inside the jungles of Colombia and were then transported by sea to intermediary sites in Central America and Mexico prior to their delivery into the United States.
Ordonez made a conservative estimate of $10 million, earning more profit by selling the cocaine at significantly greater prices in areas closer to the United States.
The convicted narcotrafficker was taken into custody in Panama in June 2018 and then extradited to the United States the next month.
“The real Narcos of the world are receiving justice, as evidenced by today’s sentencing,” DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan said. “Time and again, this DEA investigation has led to the arrest, extradition, and sentencing of an international drug kingpin responsible for flooding the streets of U.S. cities with multi-ton quantities of dangerous drugs. I applaud the members of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, HSI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York for their diligent work throughout this investigation.”
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in 2018, the four states that saw the most deaths from drug poisoning involving cocaine were: New York, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, all of which had over 1,000 deaths.
In 2019, Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru, the three major producers of cocaine, had over 326,000 hectares of coca cultivation, with a potential of about 1,800 metric tons of pure cocaine.
Colombia is the largest producer of cocaine in the world. According to Reuters, a U.S. army unit traveled to Colombia to help local armed forces to combat drug trafficking for four months in 2020.
“SFAB’s mission in Colombia is an opportunity to demonstrate our mutual commitment against drug trafficking and support for regional peace, respect for sovereignty and the lasting promise to defend shared ideals and values,” U.S. Southern Commander Admiral Craig Faller said.
In mid-July, Colombian authorities, together with Panama and U.S. officials seized 5.4 tonnes of cocaine, valued at $185 million, according to WION.