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Facts and Figures 2003

Illegal Drugs

Illegal drug abuse and its consequences are devastating to our society and have been recognized as a national security threat by the President, the Attorney General, and the Director of Central Intelligence. While other law enforcement organizations seek to disrupt drug-trafficking organizations, the dismantlement of major international and national drug-trafficking organizations is an area of FBI expertise and core competency. Dismantlement means the targeted organization is permanently rendered incapable of being involved in the distribution of drugs. At a minimum, this requires three objectives be met: 1) the organization's leaders must be completely incapacitated; 2) the organization's financial base must be thoroughly destroyed; and 3) the organization's drug-supply connection/network must be irreparably disrupted. The FBI's approach gives the Special Agents in Charge of each field office the flexibility to address significant local drug problems, but they must do so in a manner that is consistent with and contributes to the dismantlement of national drug-trafficking organizations. The FBI is uniquely qualified to dismantle organizations because of the experience, training, and expertise of its Agents, the statutory jurisdictions at its disposal, the FBI's presence throughout the country, and its history as a methodical and thorough investigative agency.

Photograph of helicopterThe FBI worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service to target a Dominican drug-trafficking organization operating in western New York. Through the use of a highly placed cooperating witness, a moneylaundering and drug related police corruption aspect to this case developed. Multiple wiretaps were put in place and an undercover operation was initiated. A wiretap, in conjunction with closed-circuit television, documented four Buffalo Police Department detectives breaking into an undercover residence for the purpose of stealing drug proceeds. They were ultimately arrested in March 2000. The four detectives were charged with stealing $36,000 from an undercover FBI Agent, possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony, and civil rights violations. After an eight-week trial, one police detective was found guilty of drug trafficking, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, civil rights violations, and obstruction of commerce. Two other detectives were convicted of theft of government property, while a fourth detective was acquitted on all charges. Three of the detectives were terminated by the Buffalo Police Department immediately following the verdict, while the acquitted officer was suspended awaiting termination.


This FBI-led investigation targeted the Jose Diogo Theriaga organization, a transnational methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as "ecstasy," distribution and money laundering organization operating in Miami, Florida, and overseas. The Jose Diogo Theriaga organization sought to purchase nightclubs in Miami as a means to distribute MDMA and launder the proceeds. OPERATION X also focused on the illicit activities of the Julian Garcia-Herman Roif organization, a Colombian moneylaundering organization responsible for the laundering of millions of dollars of proceeds for drugtrafficking organizations operating in the Miami area. The FBI employed sophisticated investigative techniques against both organizations, including wiretap coverage of telephone and computer communications, controlled purchases of drug evidence, and the use of an undercover operation. OPERATION X was conducted in concert with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Customs Service, and the Dutch National Police. The FBI executed 14 search warrants, indicted and arrested 11 individuals, and seized $605,000, as well as executing search warrants on electronic and web-based mail accounts to gather evidence against the members of the criminal enterprise. This investigation exposed and dismantled a previously undiscovered major transnational criminal enterprise.

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