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Photograph of FBI's newest Top Ten Fugitive, Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez. Link to full Wanted poster.FBI ADDS COLOMBIAN DRUG CARTEL LEADER TO MOST WANTED FUGITIVE LIST

05/06/04


$5,000,000 Reward

Today, Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez joined an exclusive club that no one really wants to join – the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.

Who is Montoya? Reputedly a principal leader of the most powerful and violent drug trafficking organization in Colombia, the North Valley Drug Cartel (NVC). Since 1990, the cartel has allegedly exported more than 1.2 million pounds of cocaine into the United States and routinely used murders, kidnappings and brutality along the way.

What is he charged with? In a federal indictment unsealed May 6, Montoya and nine of his associates were charged with illegal trafficking of cocaine; laundering drug proceeds; bribing Colombian law enforcement officials and politicians; kidnapping, torturing, and murdering informants, rival drug traffickers and others; and even wiretapping Colombian and U.S. law enforcement officials to monitor their activities. He was originally indicted in 1999 on violations of federal drug trafficking laws. To date, over 48,000 pounds of cocaine have been seized from the North Valley Cartel.

More than "just" a law breaker. In 2003, the cartel split into two – and Montoya declared war on the other faction, creating a public safety crisis in the city of Cali and surrounding areas of southwest Colombia. Violence has spilled into the streets and innocent citizens have been caught in the crossfire. The death toll from the clashes over the past six months tops 1,000.

And that’s not all. Montoya and other traffickers allegedly have participated in several notorious massacres and "social cleansing" of Colombian peasants. He also has allegedly formed an alliance with a paramilitary group, the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) -- designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department – to protect the NVC’s drug routes, laboratories, and associates.

The State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Montoya’s arrest and conviction. He’s 6 feet tall, weighs 230 pounds, has brown eyes and black hair, and is marked by surgical scars on his back and legs. Among his aliases are "Don Diego," "El Señor de la Guerra" and "El Ciclista."

What should you do if you have information about him? Immediately contact your nearest FBI office or local law enforcement agency. If you’re outside the United States, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

For more information about Montoya and the rest of the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted, click here.

See also the Press Release.

Note: The individuals pictured or identified here may have been apprehended or may no longer be wanted by law enforcement since the above information was posted on this website. Please check our Wanted by the FBI website or contact your local FBI office for up-to-date information.