The man was arrested in Panama in March 2020 and was extradited to the United States thereafter. - Photo for illustration purposes only -

































Published on Monday, August 30, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff and wire services

A Colombian man surnamed Renteria-Lemus, 37,  was sentenced to nearly three decades in federal prison for drug trafficking tons of cocaine from Costa Rica and other countries' as well as distribution to the United States, Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei said.

According to the Department of Justice of the Eastern District of Texas, Renteria pleaded guilty on Nov. 16, 2020, to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine knowing it would be imported into the United States.
Renteria was sentenced to 327 months in federal prison by the U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III.

“The sentence imposed today reflects how seriously the United States takes the importation of narcotics into our nation,” Ganjei said. “Whether you reside in Anytown, U.S.A., or live thousands of miles beyond American shores, if you scheme to smuggle drugs into the United States, we will find you and bring you to justice.”

“This sentence reflects that three years of being the cell head of Transnational Criminal Organizations in Panama can result in 30 years of incarceration,” DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge, Eduardo A. Chávez said. “Greed is ultimately what drove Mr. Lemus to lose power by collecting taxes in order for shipments to make it to United States soil. Mr. Lemus’ sentence today shows the impact of DEA and our counterparts efforts in East Texas communities and around the country.”

According to information presented in court, in 2016, Renteria, a resident and national of Colombia, was a primary member of a drug trafficking organization responsible for multi-ton cocaine shipments which originated from Colombia to Costa Rica for further distribution to the United States.

Also, there were drug's shipments from Ecuador, Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Renteria was the head of the Panamanian cell of the Clan Del Golfo (CDG) Cartel operating in Colombia, Panama, and elsewhere. He was responsible for receiving maritime shipments of cocaine in Palmira, conducting enforcement operations, and collecting taxes and tributes for the CDG.

Airplanes, go-fast boats, semi-tractor trailer trucks, and passenger vehicles were used to transport most of the cocaine shipments. A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Renteria with federal drug trafficking violations on Feb. 2, 2019. Renteria was subsequently arrested in Panama in March 2020 and was extradited to the United States thereafter.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (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. 

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by the Assistant U.S. Attorneys Colleen Bloss and Jay Combs.


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What should the U.S. authorities do to stop the drug war?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com







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