Cocaine, Murder and Interior Design: A Drug War Love Story - Amar Ujalas

Cocaine, Murder and Interior Design: A Drug War Love Story


In March 1996, a bullet-riddled corpse of a large man with a large, bovine head and massive beard was placed on a street in Medellin.

As the Colombian president took to the airwaves to stop the killing of his country’s most wanted man, in New York, a skeptical group of American law enforcement agents scrambled to verify the news.

He spent nearly two decades investigating the master criminal. When he matched the fingerprints on file for body people in Colombia, there was no denial: Don Chape was dead.

Real name Jose Santacruz Londono, he was one of the four heads of the Cali Cartel, a multibillion-dollar cocaine syndicate ending an American epidemic addiction. He was pursued by the New York-based Police Task Force from the late 1970s, which earned him the nickname “Chep Chaser”.

Jose Santa Cruz London
Jose Santa Cruz London
He recalled the anniversaries and children’s birthdays during steak houses and raids, taking pills, seizing and decoding financial handlers, and locating billions worldwide. He had rolled out the main cartel operators and hid them under government patronage with the hope that he would testify in the blockbuster trial of his former boss.

And then, with Santa Cruz finally on the ropes, he had the nerve to die.

But in the months to follow, a wild legal proposal was formed – a Hell Marie to prosecute Santa Cruz despite being dead. It was perhaps the boldest, most unpleasant and spectacular back door in the history of federal drug prosecutions.

They will inspire interior designers of cocaine kingpins.

The retirement plans were simply shattered. The analyst insisted on a 29-page indictment and gave Frank two options.

Frank can confess everything and testify against Alexander, his lover and business partner of more than 15 years. Or, explained in analyst Staten Island’s Brogue, an ardent, Frank may die in prison.

Prior to his death, Jose Santa Cruz’s payroll included some of the most violent and sophisticated criminals on the planet, ranging from murderers to those using battery acid and plastic bags and sending miscreants, Ivy League-educated lawyers from global Bill looted through the hold and shadow on the level. Accounts.

Alexander and Frank were two of his closest and longest-serving employees, but their skills were completely different – and one can legally think of, diversity. His work for Santa Cruz, even in acknowledgment of the US government, amounted to the application of deliciously high design.

Federal prosecutors allege that, however, agreeing to decorate Santa Cruz’s nearly two dozen properties – including a “postmodern hyacinth” and an apocalypse-ready compound, because the Kingpin’s followers were locked in on it – the designers put the items in American’s Put into profits. Cocaine was changed. Price in colombia

On June 18, 1997, photographs of Alexander Blake, Lieut and Frank Pelechia were booked in San Francisco on charges of embezzlement of Colombian cocaine money.
On June 18, 1997, photographs of Alexander Blake, Lieut and Frank Pelechia were booked in San Francisco on charges of embezzlement of Colombian cocaine money.
It was money laundering, he argued, and was an essential contribution to the cartel’s operations by what the head of the DEA called “the most well-organized and well-funded crime organization in history.”

Now, through the use of federal organized crime methods, the blame and punishment for the cartel’s rule was aimed at two men who knew nothing about drug trafficking, but many about whom the most of the Italian mine Good granite was produced kitchen counter.

Mark W. For Lerner, then a prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York, making a case against interior designers was critical to fulfilling her federal colleagues’ determination that the case was unavoidable, and hiring hardened cartel operators, including strict Cartier operators . – To testify against two defendants whose previous criminal history was a speeding ticket.

In a recent interview, Lerner called the case a “shot of warning” for the business community that even if his services were legitimate, he could still be prosecuted as a client of drug smugglers.

“Nobody was saying that decorators picked up knives and guns and took out the trigger and stuff,” said Lerner, a partner at a New York law firm. “What we were saying was the bagman for this organization.”

Jason Solotaroff, then one of the designers’ attorneys, considers the Clinton-era case not only as the “high-water mark” of the American drug war frenzy, but also signifies an era when a gay couple was more , Which could have happened easily. The prosecution’s subjects in the prosecution were unprecedented in their aggression.

“There was little,” Solotaroff said, “a little uneven, how they were treated.” “The prosecution was just such an exaggeration. Worse than the idea of ​​prosecuting them was how badly they were overthrown.”

Law enforcement officials involved in his prosecution deny that sexual orientation played any role. They also deny that the millions of dollars of property seized from the designers was a motivating factor in their decision to go after them, although the government hired appraisers through their home after the raid, which was based on the Valubles art. And to put stickers for furniture.

But officials openly acknowledged that the prosecution of the designers was given as a consolation prize after the disappointment of Santa Cruz’s death.

Robert Michaelis, a retired DEA agent who was a member of Chepe Chaser, said in a recent interview to prosecute the interior designers of the slain kingpin, “We, in a way, (Santa Cruz) were put to trial met.” “

For Alexander and Frank, who were 56 and 49 respectively at the time of their arrest, their role as stand-ins for one of the most formidable criminals in history overshadowed a saga for employment for Santa Cruz. Never stated in full form before, Spiral paid $ 2,400 in cocaine-coated melodrama to realize that his boss was a gay sociopath.

The design fee was paid for with $ 1 million in cash stuffed into a Gucci bag. He was given the biggest job of his career, killing a mistress. And an unexpected bond was forged between a gay interior designer from Wisconsin and the wife of a South American crime boss who found him fleeing the guild cell of his existence.

Call it “Scarface” “The Birdcage”, but it was

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