A Colombian drug "kingpin" and two of his accomplices were arrested and accused of trying to smuggle 35 pounds of heroin to New York yesterday. And they would have gotten away with it too if it they'd just learned to encrypt their e-mails and to stay off the phone!
Yesterday—after a shipment of more than 35 pounds of heroin was seized in Miami—police in Colombia arrested Luis Fernando Galleano Gasca and Geomar Richard Galleano Gasca and began the process of extraditing the pair on charges of Operating as a Major Drug Trafficker (for Fernando) and criminal possession of a controlled substance (for both). In addition officials charged an already-arrested third accomplice, Jairo Patino, with conspiracy and attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance.
The trio were caught after the an investigation using cellphone and e-mail wiretaps between October 2011 and January 2012 tipped them off to plans to ship "substantial" amounts of heroin into New York through Miami. The most interesting part? As the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City Of New York explains:
During this investigation, agents learned that FERNANDO was making arrangements to smuggle heroin from Colombia to Miami onboard a freight ship, the “Seaboard Pride,” in January 2012. JAIRO, who was based in Flushing, Queens, was supposed to travel to Miami to meet the heroin shipment and then transport it back to New York City for distribution.
In an unsuccessful attempt to evade law enforcement, the drug traffickers used a shared email account and wrote detailed messages for each other in draft form. These emails were stored but never sent. They were saved in the draft folder and then deleted once they'd been read. The messages included specific transport information that allowed investigators to intercept the heroin shipment, including the identification number of the container in which the narcotics were located.
Based on the information from the wiretap, agents were able to intercept the shipment on the "Seaboard Pride" and arrest Jairo. Aboard the ship they found a total of 34 packages of heroin hidden within four couches. After the ship was captured, the Gascas were unable to reach Jairo and tried to coordinate moving the smack up the coast. Instead, they found themselves arrested (why it'd take so long between the seizure and the arrest? Did you notice the part where they got arrested in Colombia? That's why).
Moral of the story? Maybe just saving your unencrypted plans to smuggle drugs in "draft" form is not the best way to keep your plans secret from the Man.