After being captured in Argentina, an individual accused of being an international drug lord was handed over to federal authorities and flown to South Florida on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. He was originally arrested in 2012, but could not be extradited until recently. A day after his arrival, he appeared before a federal judge to face charges of federal drug trafficking for smuggling cocaine.
The accused is currently incarcerated in Florida. He had applied for political asylum in Argentina, but his request was denied. He claims he was set up by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Colombian police. Authorities allege the man is the leader of the "Urabenos" gang. Considered to be one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the world, he is accused of smuggling tons of cocaine into the country.
On Nov. 29, the defendant will again appear before a U.S. federal court and plans to enter a plea of "not guilty." After the man was denied bond in the first court appearance, the federal magistrate will determine at this next court date whether he is eligible for one. If the court rules that he is a danger to the community or a flight risk, any requests for bond will once again be rejected.
Federal drug trafficking charges are always very serious. Given the defendant's claims that he was set up and was politically persecuted, his legal counsel will certainly take these claims into account when formulating a defense strategy. Individuals facing such serious charges would be well advised to seek experienced legal counsel to guide and support them throughout every stage of the criminal proceedings.
Source: local10.com, "Suspected Colombian drug lord extradited to South Florida", Glenna Milberg, Nov. 18, 2016