New York; Extradited Colombian National Santiago Londono-velez Sentenced

New York; Extradited Colombian National Santiago Londono-velez Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To 9 Years In Prison For Narcotics Trafficking

(STL.News) – Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Raymond P. Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), Keith M. Corlett, Superintendent of the New York State Police (“NYSP”), and Dermot Shea, Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced that SANTIAGO LONDONO-VELEZ, a/k/a “Zack,” a/k/a “Carlos Avila,” a Colombian national, was sentenced today to 108 months[1] in prison for his participation in a Colombian drug trafficking organization that conspired to distribute significant quantities of heroin in the United States.  On October 25, 2019, LONDONO-VELEZ pled guilty to a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel, who imposed today’s sentence.  LONDONO-VELEZ’s co-defendant, Rolando Francisco Ossa-Calderon, was previously sentenced by Judge Castel to nine years in prison for his role in the conspiracy.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Santiago Londono-Velez was responsible for the importation of multi-kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine into the U.S. The prison sentence he received today is commensurate with his admitted crime.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Raymond P. Donovan said: “Regional Priority Target Londono-Velez has found himself in the United States again, this trip with a visa based on justice.  His sentencing underscores law enforcement’s commitment to stemming the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.  I commend our law enforcement partners on their diligent efforts in this investigation and prosecution.”

HSI Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said: “With an extensive criminal history in the United States, Londono-Velez is again headed to prison for narcotics trafficking after moving cocaine and heroin through New York and Europe.  It is with the incredible collaboration between federal and state law enforcement agencies that those criminals who move highly addictive drugs through our borders will face the consequences of their illicit acts.”

State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said: “This investigation and today’s sentencing are evidence of the commitment we share with our law enforcement partners in keeping dangerous drugs off of our streets.  This organization utilized ships to transport large quantities of dangerous drugs to the New York area and Europe.  Great police work has stopped this enterprise and this career criminal.  The State Police remain committed to partnering with other members of law enforcement to eliminate these types of operations and shutting down the distribution of illegal drugs.”

According to the Indictment and other filings in the case:

From at least in or about 2015 through in or about 2016, LONDONO-VELEZ was a member of a Colombian drug trafficking organization.  LONDONO-VELEZ’s role in the organization was to coordinate the shipment of multi-kilogram loads of cocaine and heroin to the New York area and Europe via cargo containers on ships in which the narcotics were frequently concealed in loads of fresh produce.  In one drug transaction that took place on November 3, 2015, LONDONO-VELEZ coordinated a delivery of six kilograms of heroin, which has a street value of more than $360,000, by his co-conspirator Ossa-Calderon to an undercover law enforcement officer in Queens, New York.

LONDONO-VELEZ was previously convicted twice in the United States for felony narcotics offenses.  In 1995, he was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to 57 months in prison for a conspiracy to distribute approximately 47 kilograms of cocaine and deported to Colombia in 1999.  After illegally reentering the United States in 2003, LONDONO-VELEZ was sentenced in New York State Supreme Court in Queens County to six years in prison for criminal possession of approximately 40 kilograms of cocaine in 2006.  LONDONO-VELEZ was also convicted of illegal reentry in this District and deported to Colombia in 2011.  In connection with the charges in this case, LONDONO-VELEZ was arrested in Colombia on August 8, 2018, and extradited to the United States on August 16, 2019.

In addition to the prison term, LONDONO-VELEZ, 50, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

Ossa-Calderon, 42, of Elmont, New York, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin on March 13, 2018, and was sentenced by Judge Castel on June 12, 2018, to 108 months in prison and four years of supervised release.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) New York Strike Force.  The OCDETF New York Strike Force is a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.  The Strike Force is affiliated with the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department, New York State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, New York National Guard, Clarkstown Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Port Washington Police Department and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Ms. Strauss also thanked the DEA’s Bogota Country Office, the United States Marshals Service, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division, which provided significant assistance in securing the defendant’s extradition from Colombia.

The prosecution of his case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Sagar K. Ravi and Jilan J. Kamal are in charge of the prosecution.

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