A Venezuelan man extradited from Trinidad and Tobago to the United States, was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for smuggling cocaine.
US Attorney William M McSwain announced that Eduardo Gregorio Azocar, 48, of Venezuela, was sentenced to more than 12 years (151 months) in prison and five years of supervised release by US district judge United Harvey Bartle, III.
Azocar used TT to facilitate the distribution of 34 kilogrammes of cocaine for the purpose of illegal importation into the US.
Azocar had a fixed residence in Venezuela, was arrested in TT on June 16, 2016, and was extradited to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 23, 2019 to face justice. Azocar pleaded guilty in February 2020.
The US Department of Justice reported that in the summer of 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and TT security forces received information that Azocar had 50 kgs of cocaine that he wanted to sell to a US buyer.
On August 26, 2015, TT police saw Azocar access a locked storage container in Trinidad to inspect his cocaine, and an undercover US detective made contact with Azocar. At that time, police confiscated 30.4 kgs of cocaine.
In October of the same year, an Azocar associate sold 4.1 kgs of cocaine destined for the US to another confidential source.
"Drug trafficking takes advantage of addicted people and makes our city less safe," said US Attorney McSwain. "Narcotics not only magically appear on the streets of Philadelphia, but are smuggled in by people like Azocar, seeking to capitalise on the suffering of our people and communities. My office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners at all levels, and in other jurisdictions and nations, to investigate and convict those who are poisoning our neighbourhoods with deadly drugs and put them behind bars where they belong."
Jonathan A Wilson, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division, said, "As a result of co-ordinated efforts by the DEA and prosecutors in the US and Trinidad, Azocar was arrested in Trinidad and extradited to Philadelphia to face United States justice.
"The DEA appreciates the co-operation and support provided by the Trinity police and prosecutors. The DEA has offices around the world and will continue to work tirelessly to extradite major drug traffickers like Azocar, who pose the greatest threat to our country."