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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. 3 Men Sentenced to Prison for Attempting to Smuggle Over 1,500 Kilograms of Cocaine

3 Men Sentenced to Prison for Attempting to Smuggle Over 1,500 Kilograms of Cocaine Following HSI Norfolk Investigation

Release Date: May 10, 2024

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — An investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division landed a Colombian man in federal prison for two and a half years for his role in a scheme to smuggle more than 1,500 kilograms of cocaine into the Hampton Roads. Yunier Renteria-Renteria, 28, of Colombia, received the 30-month prison sentence May 8 at the U.S. District Court in Newport News. He was the third and final conspirator to be sentenced for the drug trafficking plot.

“These three individuals attempted to smuggle more than two tons of cocaine onto the streets of our Virginia communities,” said HSI Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon. “The amount of damage this quantity of poison could have done is staggering. HSI Washington, D.C. will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to dismantle such drug trafficking networks.”

According to the investigation, Renteria and his co-conspirators, Luis Valencia-Renteria, 27, of Colombia, and Cesar Rodriguez, 30, of Ecuador, were part of a group attempting to move the cocaine into the United States using a “go-fast” boat off the coast of Virginia. Go-fast boats are frequently used to transport large quantities of cocaine from the Colombian coast to larger transfer vessels en route to the United States.

On March 17, 2023, a maritime patrol aircraft spotted the conspirators’ go-fast boat. When the boat’s crew became aware of law enforcement’s presence, they began to dump their cargo into the ocean. The U.S. Coast Guard later recovered the jettisoned cargo, which included 1,504 kilograms of cocaine.

Valencia-Renteria pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine on board a vessel Aug. 3, 2023. Rodriguez pled guilty on Aug. 14, 2023. Renteria pled guilty Jan. 3.

Valencia-Renteria and Rodriguez were each sentenced to two and a half years in prison on Jan. 9.

This investigation was conducted by HSI Norfolk and DEA Washington. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multiagency approach.

Anyone with information regarding crime is encouraged to call the HSI Tip Line at 877-4-HSI-TIP.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to increase public safety in your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSI_DC.

Last Updated: 05/10/2024
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