On Thursday, January 13, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in a press release that Oscar Marsiglia Barrios, a 54-year-old man from Colombia, pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to distribute cocaine knowing and intending it to be imported into the United States.” Although a date for sentencing has not yet been scheduled, Marsiglia Barrios faces possible life in federal prison.
From around February of 2015 through October 26, 2017, Marsiglia Barrios was allegedly involved in a “transnational criminal conspiracy” revolving around cocaine, the DOJ explained. His role within the organized crime was to hire, recruit, and pay other individuals to use cargo ships from Puerto Nuevo in Colombia to transport the drugs to America.
Puerto Nuevo, located on the Caribbean coast and operational since 2007, is overseen by a company called Sociedad Portuaria Puerto Nuevo S.A. According to Puerto Nuevo’s website, it is a “public-service port dedicated to the handling and export of coal using a direct loading system to load the coal onto the ships.”
In August of 2019, Marsiglia Barrios was arrested in Colombia for his alleged role in the organized distribution of cocaine. In March of 2021, he was extradited to the U.S., and is being held in the Middle District of Florida in Tampa.
The United States FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) worked together in the investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Diego F. Novaes is carrying out the prosecution. The International Affairs of the DOJ and the U.S. Marshals Service also helped to assist with the defendant’s extradition.
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) organized the case against Marsiglia Barrios. According to the DOJ, “OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.”