Four Arrested in Miami on Canadian-Cartel Jailbreak Scheme
MIAMI (AP) _ Three Venezuelans and a Miami woman face charges they plotted to break two Colombian cocaine cartel pilots out of a Canadian jail.
Luis Felipe Briceno Leon, 49; Fredy Omar Fuenmayor, 47; and Juan Carlos Villamizar Hernandez, 41, were to appear before a U.S. magistrate this afternoon.
The three Venezuelans, formerly imprisoned in Canada, were on their way home when they were arrested Thursday by FBI agents at Miami International Airport, said FBI spokesman Paul Miller.
Earlier in the day, Beatriz Junquera De Rivera, 25, was arrested at her Miami home, Miller said. She was released on $50,000 bond pending a hearing Sept. 23 on her removal to Bangor, Maine, where she and the Venezuelans are among a dozen people indicted on federal conspiracy charges in the planned jailbreak.
The pilots were to have been freed from a jail in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and spirited through Maine and Florida to Colombia, federal prosecutors charged.
″These are people that associate with the cartel, and there were some very substantial sums of money put up by the Medellin cartel to create this jailbreak,″ Miller said.
The four-count indictment charges racketeering conspiracy, harboring illegal aliens and two counts of interstate travel in aid of racketeering.
The first two counts carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The travel counts carry a maximum five-year prison term.
Miller said that hundreds of thousands of dollars were offered for a successful jail break-out. He refused to describe the plan further.
Police in Edmundston, New Brunswick, near the Maine border, first uncovered the plot when they arrested four heavily armed men in September 1989.
Arms seized in the arrests included an Uzi machine pistol, an AK-47 assault rifle, two semiautomatic handguns, a training hand grenade, a stun gun and 3,000 rounds of ammunition.
The pilots, both identified only as Colombian nationals, were jailed in Canada on charges they flew a half-ton of cocaine in the nose of an airplane. Both pilots then were moved to a more secure prison.
Four Colombians known to live in the Miami area also were being sought.
Also indicted in Bangor were Robert San Vicente, 35, who was captured with the arms cache and remains in Canadian custody; Venezuelan Cesar Bracho Sucre, 44, who remains in Canadian custody following his arrest after the weapons seizure; and Colombians Diego Caycedo and Ricardo Marin.