TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew has sentenced Diego Fernando Cardona Lozano (46, Cali, Colombia), also known as “El Doctor” and “Pomada,” to 17 years and 6 months in federal prison for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and conspiring to commit international money laundering. The court also ordered Cardona Lozano to forfeit approximately $1.4 million, which are traceable to proceeds of the offense.
Cardona Lozano had pleaded guilty on December 20, 2019.
According to court documents, Cardona Lozano was the leader of a transnational criminal organization that used the port of Buenaventura, Colombia, to distribute thousands of kilograms of cocaine worldwide and launder drug proceeds from other countries back to Colombia through the Black Market Peso Exchange. The organization concealed cocaine within legitimate shipping containers bound for ports of entry worldwide by obtaining shipping manifests to identify particular destinations where associates could retrieve the cocaine with the assistance of corrupt port employees and officials. More than 2,000 kilograms of cocaine were seized in Colombia, Mexico, and Costa Rica in connection with this conspiracy. In addition, money laundering activities carried out in North America, Australia, and the Netherlands were tied to the organization.
This case was investigated by the Panama Express Strike Force, a standing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) comprised of agents and analysts from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Interagency Task Force South. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Baeza.