Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New York Division, New York State Police Commissioner George P. Beach and New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill announced today the extradition of an alleged Colombian drug trafficker who conspired to smuggle multi-kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine to New York City aboard the emblematic Royal Spanish Navy training vessel, the Juan Sebastian de Elcano, between April and May of 2014. The extradition of another Colombian national involved with the case is also anticipated in the near future.
JORGE LUIS HOAYECK was transported to New York on November 10, 2016 and is set to be arraigned this morning before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Bonnie G. Wittner in Part 61, 100 Centre Street. HOAYECK and his co-conspirator, JORGE ALBERTO SIADO-ALVAREZ, were arrested in Colombia on January 22, 2016 pursuant to an extradition request. HOAYECK was arrested in the port city of Cartagena and SIADO was apprehended outside the city. The arrests resulted from close collaboration between the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, the DEA-led New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF) Group T-42, DEA-Colombia, the Colombian National Police, and the Civil Guard of Spain. The Government of Colombia approved an extradition request for HOAYECK to New York City for prosecution. Colombia’s approval of the extradition request for SIADO-ALVAREZ is also expected in the near future.
An indictment charges HOAYECK and SIADO-ALVAREZ with Operating as a Major Trafficker under New York State’s kingpin statute, which carries a possible life sentence. HOAYECK and SIADO-ALVAREZ are also charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, two counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of International Affairs, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Marshals Service assisted in the investigation.
Narcotics smuggled from Colombia to New York City
A long-term wiretap investigation revealed that HOAYECK and SIADO-ALVAREZ oversaw a major international drug operation from their base in Cartagena, Colombia. As part of the conspiracy, HOAYECK and SIADO-ALVAREZ allegedly supplied narcotics to New York City-based traffickers. Additionally, HOAYECK and SIADO-ALVAREZ worked with the New York City-based traffickers to sell kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine and sought payment for the narcotics. The defendants communicated with one another and with the New York City-based narcotics traffickers by cellular phones using coded, cryptic language.
Charges in the indictment center on a shipment of eight kilograms of narcotics (over 17 lbs.), including four kilograms of heroin and four kilograms of cocaine, delivered to New York City by Spanish midshipmen in training to become officers of the Spanish Navy aboard the Juan Sebastian de Elcano. The ship was on a six-month voyage that originated in Cadiz, Spain and included stops in France, Italy and Morocco, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean for stops in Cartagena, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and New York City.
The wiretap investigation, which was pursued by Colombian authorities, revealed that HOAYECK and SIADO-ALVAREZ agreed to pay two midshipmen a total of $32,000 to hide the narcotics aboard the Juan Sebastian de Elcano and deliver it to the New York City-based traffickers.
The Juan Sebastian de Elcano is a famed, four-masted schooner built in 1927 and viewed as a symbolic “floating embassy” for Spain. The midshipmen received the narcotics while the Juan Sebastian de Elcano was docked in Cartagena on or about April 16, 2014.
Upon arriving in the Port of New York, the Spanish vessel docked on Manhattan’s West Side near the U.S.S. Intrepid. On May 14, 2014, the ship’s last full day in New York City, the midshipmen allegedly met with the local traffickers and accompanied them to a residence in the Bronx, New York in order to deliver the narcotics.
New York City-based Traffickers
On May 14, 2014, law enforcement video surveillance captured the two Spaniards delivering the narcotics to the New York City traffickers at a residence located in the Bronx, New York. Law enforcement tracked the organization members as they subsequently transported the heroin to a second location in the Bronx, New York.
On May 16, 2014, members of DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force Group T-42 – comprised of DEA special agents, New York City Police Department detectives and New York State Police investigators – followed two vehicles linked to the New York City-based drug trafficking organization as they travelled north on Interstate 95 towards Hartford, Conn to deliver the heroin delivered by the Spaniards (as well as additional narcotics). With assistance from the DEA’s New Haven District Office and the Hartford Resident Office, agents and officers tracked the vehicles to a residential building. The four kilograms of heroin and additional multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics, drug paraphernalia, and cash were seized at the location.
Also on May 16, 2014, the NYDETF also recovered the four kilograms of cocaine from a vehicle parked outside of the Bronx stash location. Additional narcotics, weapons, and narcotics paraphernalia were also subsequently recovered at locations in the Bronx associated with this investigation.
A total of seven individuals associated with the New York City-based trafficking group were arrested and indicted following the delivery involving the Juan Sebastian de Elcano. Law enforcement initially captured six members of the organization in New York City and Connecticut. One year later, authorities tracked down and arrested the seventh member of the organization in the Dominican Republic. That individual had traveled to the Dominican Republic shortly after his co-conspirators were arrested. One year later, however, authorities found and arrested him after he attempted to ship a 2014 Mercedes ML63 AMG from New York to the Dominican Republic. That individual, a U.S. citizen, was subsequently deported from the Dominican Republic to face charges in New York.
Narcotics Seized in Spain
After leaving New York, the Juan Sebastian de Elcano travelled to Ireland, Norway, Germany, and finally back to its home port in Cadiz, Spain. Officers with the Spanish Civil Guard conducted a thorough search of the ship and recovered 127 kilograms of cocaine (nearly 280 lbs.) in a storeroom for reserve sails. This seizure is the subject of an ongoing investigation. HOAYECK and SIADO-ALVAREZ have not been charged in connection with this shipment of narcotics. To date, Spanish authorities have indicted six sailors and one civilian cook in connection with the overall investigation.
The successful extradition of HOAYECK and the anticipated extradition of SIADO-ALVAREZ, along with the prosecution of seven New York City dealers, six Spanish sailors and one civilian has exposed and ended a highly lucrative international drug trafficking route.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked her office’s Special Investigations Bureau, the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF) Group T-42, DEA-Colombia, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of International Affairs, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Marshals Service, the Colombian National Police and the Civil Guard of Spain.
The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.Download Press Release
Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office
DEA, New York Division
New York State Police
New York City Police Department