July 17, 2024

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U.S. Attorney Announces Extradition Of Colombian National For Narco-Terrorism, Firearms, And Drug-Trafficking Charges | USAO-SDNY

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Anne Milgram, the Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), introduced right now the extradition of CARLOS FERNANDO MELO, for narco-terrorism, firearms, and drug-trafficking offenses. MELO, a Colombian nationwide, was taken into custody by Colombian authorities on April 20, 2021 at the request of the United States, extradited to the United States, and arrived in the Southern District of New York yesterday from Colombia. MELO is anticipated to be introduced afterwards these days just before U.S. Magistrate Choose James L. Cott. The scenario is assigned to United States District Court docket Choose Sidney H. Stein.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “As alleged, Carlos Fernando Melo attempted to broker deals for device guns with acknowledged narco-terrorist companies, with the stated mission of murdering a DEA agent overseas as a ‘trophy.’  Unbeknownst to him, the people Melo thought to be arms traffickers were being, in actuality, DEA confidential resources.  Melo’s extradition nowadays assures that he’ll be held accountable on U.S. soil for allegedly focusing on DEA Specific Brokers fully commited to combating the illicit drug trade.”

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram stated:  “DEA’s central mission is concentrating on the most unsafe, most ruthless drug-traffickers who threaten our communities for their own profit.  Carlos Fernando Melo is alleged to have not only supported and participated in violent narco-terrorism, but also sought to have a DEA agent murdered.  DEA will relentlessly go after narco-terrorists and drug traffickers who threaten the basic safety and well being of Americans.”

In accordance to the allegations contained in the Grievance and Indictment charging the defendant, which were being unsealed now in Manhattan federal court docket:[1]

Amongst close to September 2019 and December 2019, MELO tried to acquire explosives and firearms, including equipment guns, from people today MELO understood to be arms traffickers for use by two companies then selected by the Department of State as International Terrorist Businesses: the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (“FARC”) and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (“ELN”). Unbeknownst to MELO, the arms traffickers with whom he was negotiating were, in actuality, DEA private sources.

Throughout these conferences, a private source posing as a weapons broker launched MELO to two other private sources who claimed to be weapons sellers. These confidential resources, in transform, introduced MELO to an undercover law enforcement officer who purported to be a member of the terrorist firm Hizballah with access to explosive content and firearms. In the conferences, MELO reiterated that he was trying to get to broker weapons deals for the FARC and ELN, which he claimed to have finished in the previous. MELO offered the resources with a coded listing of weapons that the FARC and ELN desired to invest in. MELO also represented that he experienced spoken with leadership in the FARC and ELN with regards to their curiosity in buying weapons and explosive product. In the long run, MELO asked for much more than 300 equipment guns for the FARC as well as explosive product and mercury for the ELN. Although MELO originally prompt that the FARC would spend for their weapons in cocaine, MELO afterwards explained to the confidential sources that the FARC would pay back dollars for their arms, and that MELO experienced a different call who would offer cocaine to the private sources for importation into the United States.

MELO also discussed throughout these conferences that he sought to obtain the firearms and explosives because the FARC and ELN wanted to perform assaults in Colombia. He in depth particulars of these prepared attacks, which provided the probable kidnapping and murder of a DEA agent in Colombia and the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. MELO explained that killing a DEA agent would be a “trophy” for the FARC or ELN and that he experienced a particular assassin in intellect who could carry out the murder.

In furtherance of these designs, MELO enlisted a co-conspirator to get photos of the U.S. Embassy in Bogota. When this co-conspirator identified as MELO expressing issue about the safety at the Embassy, MELO instructed the co-conspirator to get the photos on a solitary working day so as to not arouse any suspicion.

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MELO, 58, a Colombian nationwide, is billed with: (1) taking part in a narco-terrorism conspiracy, which carries a 20-year required least sentence and a highest of existence in jail (2) conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, which carries a 10-12 months required bare minimum sentence and a utmost of lifestyle in jail and (3) conspiring to possess device guns and destructive equipment for the duration of and in relation to the narco-terrorism and cocaine importation conspiracies, which carries a highest of daily life in prison.

The probable obligatory bare minimum and optimum sentences in this circumstance are prescribed by Congress and furnished in this article for informational needs only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the excellent initiatives of the DEA’s Particular Functions Division Bilateral Investigations Unit. Mr. Williams also thanked the Office of Justice’s Office of Intercontinental Affairs, Judicial Attachés in Bogotá, Colombia, and the Counterterrorism Area.

The situation is remaining managed by the Office’s National Protection and Intercontinental Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Jason A. Richman, Kyle A. Wirshba, and Kaylan E. Lasky are in cost of the prosecution.

The prices contained in the Criticism and Indictment are simply allegations, and the defendant is presumed harmless unless and right until demonstrated guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the textual content of the Indictment and the Grievance, and the description of the Indictment and the Grievance set forth herein, represent only allegations and every fact explained should really be addressed as an allegation.