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Colombian Narcotic Kingpin Pleads Guilty To Cocaine Smuggling

jailed-newsamericasnowNews Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Nov. 24, 2014:  A narcotics kingpin who ran a manufacturing and drug smuggling syndicate out of Colombia has pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and manufacture cocaine.

For decades, Daniel Barrera Barrera, 47, aka, Loco Barrera, a citizen of Colombia, manufactured and distributed hundreds of tons of cocaine and laundered tens of millions of dollars in drug proceeds. Barrera worked with two Colombian terrorist organizations to traffic cocaine to various parts of the world, including the United States.

In March 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Barrera as a “Special Designated Narcotics Trafficker,” pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. Barrera was arrested in Venezuela on Sept. 18, 2012. Thereafter, he was sent to Colombia, from where the United States sought and obtained Barrera’s extradition. Federal agents extradited him from Colombia to the United States on July 9, 2013.

As alleged in the superseding indictment filed in the Southern District of New York, the superseding indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York, statements made at last week’s guilty plea and other court proceedings, and other information in the public record:

From 1998 until 2010, Barrera ran a cocaine manufacturing and trafficking syndicate out of Colombia. Barrera purchased the raw cocaine base or paste from the designated terrorist group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or the FARC). The FARC, which has been and is dedicated to the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Colombia has been the world’s largest supplier of cocaine and has engaged in bombings, massacres, kidnappings, and other acts of violence within Colombia.

After purchasing the raw cocaine base from the FARC, Barrera converted the raw cocaine into powder at laboratories he owned and operated in an area of Colombia controlled by the since demobilized terrorist group, Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). For years, the AUC’s main political objective was to defeat the FARC in armed conflict, and it financed its terrorist activities through the proceeds of cocaine trafficking in AUC-controlled regions of Colombia. At the time of Barrera’s criminal conduct, the FARC and the AUC were both designated by the U.S. Department of State as Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

After processing the cocaine powder in his laboratories, Barrera arranged for the shipment and transportation of the cocaine powder to locations on four continents, including the United States. Although Barrera purchased raw materials for cocaine production from the FARC, he was able to maintain his network of cocaine processing laboratories in AUC controlled territory, in part by paying monthly “taxes” to the AUC. The fees Barrera paid to the AUC also allowed him to safely move the processed cocaine through and out of Colombia.

Each month, Barrera processed approximately 30,000 kilograms of raw cocaine base into about the same amount of cocaine powder, resulting in approximately 400 tons of cocaine annually. In total, Barrera reaped tens of millions of dollars of profits from cocaine trafficking, which he laundered through illicit means.

Barrera pleaded guilty in the Southern District of New York to one count of conspiring to distribute and manufacture cocaine knowing it would be unlawfully imported into the United States. On that count, Barrera faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. Barrera is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 27, 2015.

On Oct. 9, Barrera pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of New York to one count of conspiring to launder money. On that count, Barrera faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Barrera is scheduled for sentencing for this charge on Jan. 22, 2015.

Barrera is also charged in the Southern District of Florida with one count of conspiring to import cocaine into the U.S. and one count of conspiring to manufacture and distribute cocaine knowing that it would be unlawfully imported into the United States. On those counts, Barrera faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. Following his prosecutions in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, Barrera will be presented and arraigned in the Southern District of Florida. The charge and allegations contained in the Southern District of Florida indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent of that charge unless and until proven guilty.

The November 20th guilty plea is the result of an ongoing joint investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA), Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).