the takedown

Major International Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 30 Years

Last week, the leader of an international drug trafficking and money laundering ring operating in the Americas, Caribbean, and Europe was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison.

Gregory Joel Sitzmann, 65, was sentenced for his role as a leader in the major international criminal organization.

Sitzmann had been found guilty by a jury in May 2012 for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Evidence the government presented asserted Sitzmann used and conspired to use individuals and artifices, such as planes, luggage and automobiles with secret compartments, to transport hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Colombia and Mexico into the United States and other nations around the world.

Evidence demonstrated that Sitzmann has been involved in the drug smuggling and money laundering trade since at least the 1980s, including providing hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to the Hells Angels in Montreal through the 1990s.

Sitzmann maintained corporations and bank accounts in Panama, Switzerland, Luxembourg and other places to facilitate money laundering and purchasing of illicitly gained assets.

The prosecution of Sitzmann grew out of the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. It took the government many years after Sitzmann’s initial indictment in 2008 to secure his sentencing.  

“Gregory Joel Sitzmann was a career wholesale cocaine trafficker who operated an international drug conspiracy at the highest levels that involved over 1,300 kilograms of cocaine,” said U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips of the District of Columbia. “He directly acquired cocaine from the drug cartels of Colombia and Mexico to transport into the United States and other countries around the world.  Now, after years of eluding justice, he has been convicted and will spend an appropriately significant amount of time in prison for his crimes.  This case shows our determination to combat narcotics traffickers at the highest levels in all corners of the world.”

“The strong investigative work of our HSI special agents and law enforcement partners dismantled this international drug trafficking organization – one that operated on multiple continents and supplied a significant amount of cocaine to the United States,” said Special Agent in Charge Clark E. Settles of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) in Washington, D.C. “Today’s sentence concludes Sitzmann’s long journey from drug kingpin to being just another convicted drug trafficker.”

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