Former Colombian Drug Lord Pleads Guilty In Newark Federal Court, Facing Life In Prison


The former leader of a notorious Colombian drug cartel could face life behind bars after admitting today to conspiring to traffic large amounts of cocaine in the U.S.

Salomon Camacho Mora, 70, known to his associates as “Papa Grande”, “El Viego” or simply “Hector”, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy contained in a superseding indictment during an appearance in Newark federal court, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.

Camacho was originally indicted by federal authorities in 2002, and had been considered a fugitive for more than eight years before being captured in Venezuela and later extradited back to New Jersey.

According to court documents, he and other members of his cartel bought multi-kilogram shipment of cocaine from Colombian laboratories, and arranged for them to be shipped from Venezuela to ports in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the U.S. by boat.

Once the drugs had been sold, Camacho directed a trio of underlings to deliver large amounts of cash to locations in North Bergen and Union City, according to prosecutors. From there, the money was sent to co-conspirators in his native Colombia.

As part of a plea deal, Camacho will face at least 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10 million or twice the amount gained from his illegal activity. He has also agreed to forfeit $1.6 million in cash, as well as eight real estate properties in Colombia authorities say were bought with illicit profits, Fishman said.

Camacho is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on March 15.


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