Extradited Colombian national sentenced in Manhattan federal court to nine years in prison for narcotics trafficking


Date: September 25, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Santiago Londono-Velez, aka "Zack," aka "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.

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 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 U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, DEA, New York City Police Department, New York State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, 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.

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 also 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.

[1]The 108-month sentence includes the 13 months Londono-Velez was incarcerated in Colombia pending extradition.