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Alleged head of cocaine trafficking ring held without bail

Posted on February 05, 2010 3:00 AM EST

The leader of a Columbian cocaine trafficking cartel appeared in a federal court in New Jersey and entered a not guilty plea with the assistance of his Miami criminal defense lawyer. At the arraignment, Salomon Mora was formally charged with cocaine trafficking and money laundering. Along with his arraignment, the formal reading of the charges, a pre-trial detention hearing was also presented in court. Federal prosecutors argued that Mora was a flight risk and a danger to the community. After hearing from both sides, the federal magistrate held him without bail. Mora's Miami criminal attorney did not oppose the ruling, but told the magistrate he may request a bond at a later date. Mora is accused of being the leader of a cocaine trafficking ring that shipped tons of cocaine into the United States and returned millions of dollars to South America. The magistrate set a trial date of April 13, 2010.

Court papers indicated that Mora was the head of a cocaine trafficking cartel that imported in excess of 10 tons of cocaine into the United States from 1999 and 2000. The United States State Department offered a $5 million dollar reward for information leading to his capture. Mora has been wanted by federal law enforcement since the 1990's. He was originally indicted in Miami, Florida years ago. The original indictment alleged that Mora's operation purchased or manufactured cocaine in Columbia and then transported the product to Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the United States. The indictment also alleged that Mora transferred approximately $1.6 million from New Jersey back to country of origin.

After Mora's capture, he was extradited back to the United States from Venezuela. The interesting fact is that everyone is aware of the strained relationship between Venezuela and the United States. In fact, the countries do not maintain a reciprocal extradition treaty. The justice minister from Venezuela issued a statement that the deportation of the well-known drug trafficker is evidence that President Hugo Chavez is assisting in the fight in the war on drugs. It is apparent that the deportation is a political ploy to curry favor with the international community. The United States often accuses Chavez of doing nothing to curb the flow of cocaine from Venezuela. Venezuela has long been the hub for cocaine being trafficked out of Columbia to Europe and the United States.

Mora began his long career in cocaine trafficking back in the 1980's when he was a member of the infamous Medellin Cartel. He later worked with Alberto Gamboa in the Columbia North Coast Cartel. Mora is looking at up to twenty years on each count of money laundering and 10 years to life for the cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to traffic cocaine charges. As of the date of the initial court hearing, twenty-four other member of Mora's cocaine trafficking ring have been arrested. Twenty of the defendants have already entered guilty pleas in federal court and are serving prison sentences.

Reputed Columbia Drug Chief Held Without Bail Pending Trial, NorthJersey.com, February 3, 2010.
Categories: Drug Offenses