Diego León Montoya Sánchez

Diego León Montoya Sánchez
FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive
ChargesIn Colombia: Drug trafficking and smuggling, racketeering, money laundering, Comformation of paramilitary groups in Colombia. In the United States: Conspiracy to import and possess with intent to deliver weed cocaine; Possession with intent to deliver cocaine; Money laundering; Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) – Drug trafficking; Conspiracy to distribute or manufacture cocaine abroad with knowledge or intent that it be imported into the United States
AliasDon Diego
Born (1958-01-11) January 11, 1958 (age 62)
or (1961-01-11) January 11, 1961 (age 59)
Trujillo, Colombia
OccupationLeader of the Norte del Valle Cartel
Added6 May 2004
Caught10 September 2007

Diego León Montoya Sánchez (born January 11, 1958/1961), also known as Don Diego, is a Colombian former crime boss and leader of the Norte del Valle drug cartel. On October 25, 2002, Montoya was listed as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker on the United States Department of Treasury's Specially Designated National List (also known as La Lista Clinton).[1]

On May 6, 2004, he became the 478th fugitive listed by the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.[2] He was also wanted in Colombia, where authorities started numerous operations to capture him or his interests.[3]

The U.S. Department of State's Narcotics Rewards Program offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading directly to Montoya's arrest or conviction, the highest amount offered at the time for a non-terrorist fugitive, effectively making the priority of his capture second only to that of Osama bin Laden.

In January 2007, Montoya's brother and co-leader of the cartel, Eugenio, was captured in Colombia.[4] Colombian authorities announced on September 10 that they had arrested Montoya himself in the west of the country after a long manhunt.[5][6] On December 12, 2008, Montoya was extradited to Miami on a D.E.A. helicopter, marking the final demise of the Norte del Valle Cartel.[7]

Statement from FBI

Montoya was sought in connection with the manufacture and distribution of multiple tons of cocaine, knowing or intending that it would be imported into the United States. Montoya is reputedly one of the principal leaders of the Colombian North Valley cartel. The North Valley cartel is believed to be the most powerful and violent drug-trafficking organization in Colombia. The cartel reportedly relies heavily on illegal armed groups for protection, taking help from right-wing paramilitaries as well as leftist rebels.

Montoya has used the known aliases Diego Montoya, Diego Sanchez-Montoya, "Don Diego", "El Señor de la Guerra" (the warlord), "El Ciclista" (the cyclist).

Montoya was thought to be under the protection of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a paramilitary group run by Carlos and Vincente Castaño.