Dominican drug lord pleads guilty to importing tons of cocaine into the United States


Date: November 14, 2022


San Juan, PR — Dominican drug lord Cesar Emilio Peralta-Adamez, also known as "El Abusador," plead guilty to drug trafficking charges, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

On November 28, 2018, a Federal Grand Jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against Peralta, charging him with conspiracy to import heroin and cocaine into the customs territory of the United States (Counts One and Two) and with distributing five kilograms or more of cocaine for purposes of unlawful importation into the United States (Count Three). Subsequently, Peralta was arrested in Colombia and extradited to Puerto Rico.

On November 4, 2022, Peralta plead guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to Count Two of the Indictment which charged that:

From in or about and between 2007 through June 2017, both dates being approximate and inclusive, from the countries of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, the Netherlands Antilles, Cesar Emilio Peralta, the defendant herein, did intentionally and knowingly combine, conspire, and agree with other persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to import into the customs territory of the United States, from places outside thereof, five (5) kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine, a Schedule II Controlled Substance. All in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 952, 960, and 963.

As part of the proceedings, Peralta also entered a plea of guilty for Count One of an Indictment stemming from the Southern District of Florida (SDFL) which was transferred to the District of Puerto Rico for sentencing purposes. In SDFL, Peralta was charged with Distribution of Cocaine for purpose of unlawful importation.

Peralta was the leader of a transnational criminal organization (TCO) based in the Dominican Republic. This TCO transported multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela to Puerto Rico and the continental United States.

"This conviction demonstrates the Department of Justice's commitment to disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal organizations," said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. "We will continue to maximize our multi-agency efforts to bring to justice those who disregard our laws and smuggle drugs into Puerto Rico and the continental United States."

The defendant agreed to forfeit four properties and one business in the Dominican Republic that were controlled by Peralta:

  1. Flow Gallery Lounge in Santo Domingo;
  2. La Koura Club in Santo Domingo;
  3. Aqua Club, in Santo Domingo;
  4. Al Panino, in Santo Domingo; and
  5. Peralta Investment, SA.

This prosecution is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

The Attorney General designated Peralta as an OCDETF Consolidated Priority Organizational Target (CPOT) in 2017. The Attorney General's (AG) Interagency CPOT list is comprised of leaders who exercise "command and control" of the elements of the most prolific drug trafficking/money laundering organizations that have the greatest impact on the United States' illicit drug supply. The CPOT list represents the "most wanted" of the cartel leadership and ensures that the full capabilities of the U.S. government are focused, in a coordinated and clear manner, on a group of agreed-upon high-level targets.

Since 2017, the Peralta Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) has been investigated by agents assigned to the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). The CCSF is a multi-agency OCDETF strike force comprised of federal and state law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), and the U.S. Marshals Service, with the collaboration from the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety, the Puerto Rico Police Bureau, FURA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol, and the IRS Criminal Investigation.

Peralta's DTO was also investigated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. On August 20, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified Peralta and his Drug Trafficking Organization as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Max J. Pérez-Bouret, Chief of the Transnational Organized Crime Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jawayria Z. Auchter.

Peralta faces a possible sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 5, 2023 at 2:00 pm before Judge Pedro A. Delgado Hernández.