Brothers Plead Guilty To Trafficking More Than $100 Million Of Cocaine In International Waters

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Robin Castro-Gomez (35, Colombia, South America) and his brother, Alvaro Castro-Gomez (41, Colombia, South America), have pleaded guilty to conspiracy with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine on a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Robin Castro-Gomez faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison. Alvaro Castro-Gomez faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years, and up to life, in federal prison. They were indicted on March 5, 2019.

According to the plea agreement, Robin and Alvaro Castro-Gomez are responsible for attempting to traffic over 3,500 kilograms (7,700 pounds) of cocaine from Colombia to Central America. In 2017 and 2018, the United States Coast Guard interdicted three separate low-profile vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, each loaded with cocaine and destined for Central America. Robin Castro-Gomez was directly responsible for leading and organizing each of these drug ventures from Colombia. Alvaro Castro-Gomez, who was previously convicted in federal court for trafficking cocaine on the high seas, assisted his brother at the launch sites. He also recruited, hired, and paid one of the mariners to participate in the conspiracy.    

This case was investigated by the Panama Express Strike Force, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) comprised of agents and analysts from the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Interagency Task Force South. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Pardo.