15th January 2011
HACKENSACK, N.J. — A federal judge in Newark, N.J., has delayed the trial of a reputed Colombian drug lord while his lawyers and prosecutors try to resolve charges relating to the transfer of tons of cocaine to the United States and millions of dollars in cash to South America.
Salomon Camacho Mora, 66, a Colombian citizen who was captured in Venezuela a year ago and brought to New Jersey, was due to stand trial this week on charges of conspiracy, drug trafficking and money laundering.
But U.S. District Judge William H. Walls agreed to push the trial back to April 18 to allow lawyers for the reputed cocaine cartel leader to continue efforts to work out a plea deal with prosecutors.
It was the second time the judge has granted a continuance for plea negotiations.
Camacho is believed to have shipped up to 20,000 pounds of cocaine to the United States between 1999 and 2000, according to the State Department, which offered a $5 million reward for his capture.
Camacho had been wanted in the United States since the early 1990s, when he was first indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami. In 2002 and again in 2005, he was indicted in Newark as the leader of a cartel that purchased large quantities of cocaine from clandestine labs in Colombia and shipped it through Venezuela to Puerto Rico and the mainland.
He also was charged with conspiring to conceal the transfer of $1.6 million in illicit drug proceeds from locations in North Bergen and Union City, N.J., to Colombia in 1998 and 1999.
Camacho allegedly began trafficking cocaine in the 1980s with the Medellin cartel. Since 1998, he allegedly has partnered with Hermagoras Gonzalez Polanco — one of four co-defendants in the pending New Jersey case — in the so-called Guajira cartel, a State Department advisory said.
The Guajira cartel is known to use violence and murder to further its ends and controls as much as a third of the 250 tons of cocaine that passes through Venezuela each year on its way to the United States and Europe, authorities have said.
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