Colombian Citizen Admits Conspiring to Transport Hundreds of Kilograms of Cocaine into United States

NEWARK, N.J. – A Colombian citizen admitted conspiring to import hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into the United States from other countries including Colombia, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Raul Orlando Torres Cubides, aka “Jose Jota,” 56, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to count one of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to import five kilograms or more of cocaine.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From 2016 through Jan. 10, 2020, Cubides conspired to import hundreds of kilograms of cocaine. Cubides admitted playing a managerial role in this conspiracy, which involved more than five individuals.

The count to which Cubides pleaded guilty carries a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10 million. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2024.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operating in New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Ortiz in Newark, as well as special agents and task force officers with the DEA operating in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. He also thanked the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs; the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section Judicial Attachés in Bogotá, Colombia; Colombian law enforcement authorities; and the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance.

This case 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, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Farhana C. Melo of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Newark.


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