- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Drug baron gets 30 years in prison

MIAMI | A Colombian, who was one of the top financial managers and supervised money laundering for a cocaine cartel accused of smuggling $10 billion in drugs into the United States, was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in federal prison.

Eugenio Montoya Sanchez, 39, pleaded guilty in January to drug trafficking and obstruction of justice charges, the latter involving his role in setting up the torture, killing and dismemberment a cartel associate suspected of cooperating with authorities.

Montoya is the brother of the suspected mastermind of Colombia’s North Valley cartel. Diego Montoya Sanchez is also in U.S. custody in Miami and has pleaded not guilty to a 12-count federal indictment for cocaine trafficking, money laundering, witness retaliation and obstruction of justice. Another brother, Juan Carlos Montoya Sanchez, is serving a 22-year prison sentence in the United States for his role in the drug cartel.

The Montoyas are accused of overseeing a cocaine empire that smuggled the drug into the United States beginning in the 1990s.


Deputy U.S. marshal convicted for leak

CHICAGO | A deputy U.S. marshal has been convicted in Chicago of leaking secret information to the mob about a protected witness in a federal organized crime investigation.

Deputy Marshal John T. Ambrose, 42, stared straight ahead as jurors returned the verdict Tuesday after almost three days of deliberation.

Prosecutors said it was the first time in the 39-year history of the government’s witness security program that its secrecy was deliberately violated.

Prosecutors said they realized there was a leak when two mobsters were overheard in a prison visiting room talking about having a “mole” inside federal law enforcement.


Panel endorses gay marriage

AUGUSTA | A same-sex marriage bill is going to the Maine Senate and House with a strong committee endorsement.

Eleven of the 14 Judiciary Committee members voted Tuesday to pass the bill, while two voted against it and one proposed sending it to voters in a November referendum. Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, remains undecided.

Supporters said the bill corrects an inequality that has long existed in Maine law, while one of the opponents pointed to overwhelming constituent opposition to the bill.

State Sen. David Hastings, Fryeburg Republican, said he prefers sending a straightforward question to voters.


Man in Fort Dix plot gets life

CAMDEN | A man convicted of plotting to kill military personnel in the Fort Dix trial will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Dritan Duka, 30, was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years. His brothers, Eljvir and Shain Duka, were also being sentenced Tuesday on conspiracy and weapons charges.

Two other men convicted in the plot are to be sentenced Wednesday.

Dritan Duka told the judge he was innocent.

The five were convicted in December of conspiring to kill military personnel in a plot that authorities have portrayed as one of the most frightening homegrown terrorism plans uncovered in the United States.

The Duka brothers ran a roofing company in Cherry Hill before they were arrested two years ago.


Appeals court OKs mayor for third run

NEW YORK | A federal appeals court concluded Tuesday there are no constitutional obstructions to letting Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg run for a third term this year.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said that absent a flaw in the law or a violation of the Constitution, “It is not the role of this court to interject itself into city politics.”

The appeals court acknowledged that some people think a change in law allowing Mr. Bloomberg to run again disregards the will of people who voted for term limits. But the court said it can decide only constitutional issues and legal claims.

Mr. Bloomberg persuaded the City Council last fall to extend term limits so that he could run for a third term this year.


Efforts beefed up to stop guns flow

HOUSTON | A group of 100 federal agents and other personnel has been deployed to Houston in an effort to stop the flow of firearms to Mexican drug cartels from one of the major sources of guns seized south of the border, officials announced Tuesday.

They will spend the next four months in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Houston field division helping develop cases against people and groups trafficking firearms to Mexico, acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson said.

Mr. Melson said 90 percent of the guns that U.S. officials have traced for Mexican authorities have come from the United States. Of those, most have been traced back to Texas, and within the state most came from the Houston area.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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