Colombian arms trafficker gets 13 years

A Colombian arms trafficker who dealt in machine guns, missiles, cocaine and enriched uranium was sentenced to 13 years in prison, the Justice Department announced April 4.

Jhon Jairo Cruz Trejos, 44,was sentenced in a New York federal court for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and a related weapons offense. He pleaded guilty to the charges in November 2015.

“Jhon Jairo Cruz Trejos conspired to broker multimillion-dollar cocaine deals on behalf of Colombian terrorist organizations,” said Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for southern New York. “Cruz Trejos negotiated those deals to fund the purchase of machine guns and surface-to-air missiles, and he tried to obtain uranium for a ‘dirty bomb’ to be used against a U.S. embassy.”

The Justice Department said the conviction stems from Cruz Trejo’s attempt to broker deals on behalf of Colombian paramilitary groups, trading arms for cocaine. The case was brought in by the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate and the Colombian National Police.

According to court documents, in 2010, Cruz Trejos along with others tried to broker a weapons deal with both the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), both U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations. In meetings, he expressed interest in buying highly enriched uranium, missiles, machine guns, grenades, and explosives on behalf of the FARC and the ELN.

The purpose of the enriched uranium was to manufacture a dirty bomb targeting the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, according to information supplied by a confidential informant involved in the case until Cruz Trejos was arrested in 2014.