A top Colombian cartel boss pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court to having bribed a top federal investigator with cash and prostitutes in order to have an indictment against him successfully dismissed.
Jose Bayron “Cacheton” Piedrahita Ceballos appeared before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola this week in Florida where he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government by bribing a federal agent. He is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on July 19. Federal authorities extradited Piedrahita from Colombia on April 5, 2019, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
Court documents obtained by Breitbart News revealed that prosecutors named Piedrahita in a 1996 federal indictment against the Cali Cartel. He also had an active arrest warrant from June 20, 1996, until October 21, 2011, when he managed to get the drug trafficking indictment dismissed.
To get the criminal charges dismissed, Piedrahita and another Colombian drug lord, Juan Carlos “Cabezon” Velasco, gave $20,000 in cash and several prostitutes to a top-ranking U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agent in the area. Court documents revealed that HIS Agent Cristopher Ciccione was the case agent for a large-scale drug trafficking operation targeting the Cali Cartel called Cornerstone.
Velasco arranged for a meeting between Ciccione and Piedrahita in Bogota where the drug lords treated the agent with expensive dinners, drinks, and prostitutes in order to get him to help them avoid prosecution.
Ciccione obtained a visa for Piedrahita by claiming that he had cooperated with investigators and that he was never fully identified in the indictment and was not wanted in the U.S. Prosecutors also claimed that Ciccione altered government records and then tricked the U.S. Attorney’s Office into dismissing the initial indictment against Piedrahita.
For their role in the case, Ciccione is serving a three-year prison sentence, while Velasco is serving two years and three months.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Border / Cartel Chronicles. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Border / Cartel Chronicles. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.