Miami, Dec. 6: Ecuadorian Jose Luis-Pinargot Baquerizo, 37, extradited to the US by Colombian authorities, was sentenced by a federal judge in Florida to more than 16 years in prison for cocaine trafficking, judicial sources said.
Pinargote-Baquerizo is believed to be responsible for smuggling more than 7,500 kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated value of $225 million, that was moved from Colombia to Mexico by sea in three operations from 2017 to 2022.
District Judge Charlene E. Honeywell sentenced the Ecuadorian, who pleaded guilty last August, to 16 years and 4 months in federal prison.
According to court documents and information presented at a public hearing, three ships loaded with cocaine sailed off the coast of Tumaco (Colombia) bound for Mexico.
For these operations, Pinargote-Baquerizo hired six Ecuadorian sailors, who were paid in US dollars.
The now condemned man personally guided these sailors from Ecuador to Colombia and on one occasion accompanied them directly to Tumaco.
On August 8, 2019, in the eastern Pacific Ocean, Pinargote-Baquerizo was detained by the Colombian Navy on a vessel loaded with cocaine (1,029 kg).
Pursuant to an outstanding provisional arrest warrant for a prior shipment, he was sent to a Colombian prison for extradition to the United States, but was involuntarily released on August 24, 2020.
The Colombian Navy intercepted a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel (SPSS) in the eastern Pacific Ocean on February 6, 2022, this time with 3,764 kg of cocaine on board.
Pinargote-Baquerizo was re-arrested pursuant to an outstanding provisional arrest warrant, returned to prison in Colombia, and extradited to the United States on March 2, 2022.
The case was investigated by the Permanent Strike Force of the United States Coast Guard and the Panamanian Express Strike Force, the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).