A Delaware man who made $1 million from smuggling cocaine and built a secret bunker under his house in Bear was sentenced this week in U.S. District Court to 45 years in prison .
Omar Morales Colon, 45, had been convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and various other drug and money laundering offenses.
Colon was described as “one of the biggest drug traffickers in the history of the State of Delaware” in a Department of Justice press release. It also said Colon “stood ready to use violence if necessary to protect his drug business.”
His wife, Shakira Martinez, 44, also was convicted of money laundering offenses in July. Her sentencing is scheduled for February 2023.
“Mr. Colon has received a serious sentence that properly reflects his decades of criminality,” said U.S. Attorney David C. Weitz. “Drug trafficking wreaks havoc on the community and on families. Mr. Colon imported massive amounts of cocaine into Delaware for many years. Those who aspire to a criminal lifestyle should take note that the resulting punishment may be decades behind bars.”
Evidence at the trial said that between 2009 and 2017, Colon and Martinez laundered over a $1 million in drug proceeds through the purchase of real estate properties in Delaware and Pennsylvania using their company, Zemi Property Management.
They deposited drug money into several different bank accounts – and asked their friends and family members to do the same – and then used those funds to buy cashier’s checks that funded the property purchases.
Colon was arrested on May 6, 2017, shortly after giving his cocaine supplier $382,045 in cash in a hotel parking lot in Newark, Delaware.
The Drug Enforcement Administration subsequently discovered a secret underground bunker beneath Colon’s residence, accessed by a tunnel behind a false fireplace, in which Colon hid a marijuana grow operation.
He was sentenced by Third Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer K. Welsh and Meredith C. Ruggles prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the DEA Philadelphia Division and the IRS-Criminal Investigation.
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