A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigation into an international weapons trafficking organization operating in the United States and Central and South America has lead to the arrest of six individuals in Colombia charged in the Southern District of Florida.
Franklin William McField-Bent, a/k/a Buda, 53, a Nicaraguan national, who is charged with four counts of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization and three counts of narcotics charges, was arrested in Barranquilla, Colombia on Oct. 8, 2010. Also charged and arrested in Colombia were five members of his drug and weapons smuggling organizations, Jeison Archibold, 29, a Colombian national, Miguel Villela, a/k/a/ “Don Miguel,” 54, a Honduran national, Juan Carlos Cuao Camacho, 40, a Colombian national, Fausto Aguero Alverado, 38, a Honduran national, and Edwin Rodriguez Leon, 28, a Colombian national.
According to the indictment, which was filed on Friday, McField-Bent and others conspired and attempted to provide grenade launchers, grenades, automatic rifles and other weapons to what they thought were members of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). The AUC has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the United States Secretary of State since September 10, 2001. In fact, the defendants were dealing with undercover agents. If convicted, McField-Bent faces a maximum 15-year sentence in prison on each of the four material support counts.
The indictment also alleges that McField-Bent and others conspired and attempted to distribute cocaine knowing that it would eventually be imported into the United States. If convicted, McField-Bent and the other co-defendants face a maximum life sentence on each of the three narcotics charges, and a mandatory minimum 10 year sentence on each count.
The indictment is the result of a joint effort by ICE HSI and DEA special agents to curtail the illicit weapons-for-drugs exchanges in Central and South America. This case is a result of a cooperative federal, state, and local law enforcement investigation, approved and funded by ICE and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a national DOJ program that supports investigations of significant multi-state and international drug trafficking organizations.