A Colombian drug-trafficker suspected of being one of the most significant narcotics traffickers in the world was arraigned in a Manhattan federal courtroom last Friday in front of U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan, according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials.
Jose Evaristo Linares Castillo, who had been extradited from Colombia on charges that he conspired to import ton-quantities of cocaine into the United States in order to provide material support to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the "Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia," or "FARC"), a Marxist revolutionary group, according to the indictment.
The FARC was designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Jose Evaristo Linares Castillo, a Colombian citizen,was designated a Consolidated Priority Organization Target ("CPOT") by the Department of Justice, a rarely used designation for narcoterrorists and their associates. In February 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Linares Castillo as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker.
The 47-year-old Castillo, who was arrested by Colombian drug enforcement officers in May 2012, arrived in the Southern District of New York on Thursday, according to the DEA.
"As alleged, Linares Castillo ran cocaine laden aircrafts from Colombia, through Venezuela, Honduras, and into Mexico for distribution onto American streets. He also allegedly collaborated with the FARC to secure safe passage of drugs through Colombia and Venezuela," said DEA Special-Agent-in-Charge Brian Crowell.
"As alleged, Linares Castillo was a drug kingpin of the first order who consorted with, and paid-off, known terrorists to ensure the safe passage of narcotics that were destined for the United States," added Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
According to the allegations in the Indictment: "The Indictment charges Linares Castillo in three counts. Count One charges him with conspiracy to possess and to distribute cocaine on board an aircraft owned by a U.S. citizen or registered in the U.S.; to import cocaine into the United States; and to distribute cocaine knowing and intending that it be imported into the U.S. Count Two charges Linares Castillo with narcoterrorism conspiracy. Count Three charges him with material support conspiracy. Counts One and Two carry a maximum penalty of life in prison; Count Three carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison."
Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, and he's a columnist for Examiner.com. In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com) and editor of Conservative Base Magazine (www.conservativebase.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
He holds a bachelor of science in Criminal Justice from Southwest University and SCI Technical School in New York City and completed training at the NYC Police Academy, FBI Continuing Education Program, and the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) of the American Society for Industrial Security.
Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.
To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.