Third Clan Del Golfo associate extradited to face charges for international cocaine distribution conspiracy
HOUSTON – Another alleged associate of one of the most serious transnational organized criminal organizations will make his initial appearance in U.S. federal court today on charges of distributing kilogram quantities of cocaine from Colombia, announced Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Steven S. Whipple and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Jose Alfredo Valencia, 43, is set to appear at 2 p.m. in Houston before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Henovice Palermo.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Valencia and others Aug. 16, 2018. Colombian authorities took him into custody at the request of the United States in November 2018. He was extradited to Houston yesterday.
Valencia is an alleged close associate of Joaquin Guillermo David-Usuga aka “Guillermo,” 43, who is believed to be a ranking member of the Clan Del Golfo. David-Usuga was extradited to Houston Dec. 5, 2019, and is pending trial. Another Clan Del Golfo associate charged is Jhony Fidel Cuello-Petro aka “Mocho,” 45, who was extradited to Houston in October 2020. He pleaded guilty to international cocaine distribution in December 2020 and is pending sentencing.
The Department of Justice designated Clan Del Golfo as one of the most serious transnational organized criminal organizations that threatens the United States.
The indictment alleges Valencia, Cuello-Petro, David-Usuga and others were involved in the importation of kilogram quantities of cocaine into the United States. Both are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine internationally and one count of international cocaine distribution.
Valencia, Cuello-Petro and David-Usuga were allegedly involved in an ongoing five-year conspiracy to distribute cocaine from Colombia to the United States. In May 2019, they and others participated in distributing approximately 20 kilograms of cocaine in Colombia knowing it was to be imported into the United States, according to the allegations.
The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration led the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation dubbed “Operation Macondo.”
The operation is part of an OCDETF Strike Force Initiative which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations.
The specific mission of the Houston Strike Force is to disrupt and dismantle the drug trafficking organizations that designated Consolidated Priority Organization or Regional Priority Organization Targets head with their affiliates that impact Houston and south Texas.
The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs was responsible for securing the extradition. The Justice Department also extends its gratitude to the government of Colombia and the Colombian police and military for its cooperation and assistance.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Casey N. MacDonald and Anibal Alaniz are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.