Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Raymond Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced that FAOUZI JABER, a/k/a “Excellence,” pled guilty to conspiring to provide material support to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the “FARC”), a designated foreign terrorist organization. JABER pled guilty earlier today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine H. Parker.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “Faouzi Jaber arranged to traffic millions of dollars’ worth of lethal weapons and narcotics in support of the FARC’s efforts to violently overthrow the government of Colombia and terrorize U.S. forces stationed there. In a series of meetings that took him around the world, Jaber was willing to do whatever it took to help this foreign terrorist organization achieve its violent and undemocratic goals. Our Office will continue to prosecute those who conspire to provide material support to the FARC and other dangerous terrorist organizations to the fullest extent of the law.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Raymond Donovan said: “DEA’s number one priority is going after individuals and organizations that pose a direct threat to the safety and security of the American people. Faouzi Jaber demonstrated how willing he was to do business with some of the world’s most deadly terror networks that wish harm on innocent Americans and the rule of the law. We must continue to attack these potentially deadly networks globally, no matter where they hide.”
According to the allegations contained in the Superseding Indictment, statements made during the plea proceeding, and other documents in the public record:
From the fall of 2012 through early 2014, JABER participated in a conspiracy to provide material support to the FARC, a guerilla group that, as of that time period, was dedicated to the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Colombia, had engaged in acts of violence against U.S. citizens and interests in Colombia and elsewhere, and was one of the world’s largest suppliers of cocaine. JABER engaged in a series of meetings, in locations such as Accra, Ghana, and Warsaw, Poland, with individuals who identified themselves as representatives and associates of the FARC, but who were, in fact, confidential sources (the “CSes”) working for the DEA. In the course of those meetings, which were recorded, JABER introduced the CSes to two of his associates, a weapons trafficker based in Ukraine and a narcotics trafficker based in West Africa, in furtherance of his efforts to assist the FARC. Working together with those associates, during the meetings with the CSes, JABER agreed to provide weapons – including surface-to-air missiles, assault rifles, grenade launchers, and grenades – to the FARC, at a total price of over $8 million, with the understanding that those weapons would be used by the FARC against U.S. forces in Colombia. JABER also agreed to assist the FARC with the transportation and storage of FARC-owned cocaine in West Africa, and with the laundering of cocaine proceeds for the FARC, including by moving the cocaine proceeds through bank accounts in New York.
In April 2014, JABER traveled to Prague, Czech Republic, to meet with certain of the CSes to continue negotiating and arranging the weapons and narcotics-trafficking transactions in support of the FARC. On April 5, 2014, JABER was arrested in Prague by Czech authorities based on the charges in this case, at the request of U.S. authorities. JABER was later extradited to the United States to face the charges against him.
* * *
JABER, 61, of the Ivory Coast, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, i.e., the FARC, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge. Sentencing is scheduled for November 8, 2017, at 4:00 p.m. before Chief U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon.
Mr. Kim praised the outstanding efforts of the DEA’s Special Operations Division and DEA’s Vienna, Austria Country Office; DEA’s Warsaw, Poland Country Office; DEA’s Accra, Ghana Country Office; and DEA’s New York Field Division. Mr. Kim also thanked Czech law enforcement authorities, the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for their assistance.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney George D. Turner is in charge of the prosecution.