Former Attorney Sentenced to 15 Years’ Imprisonment for Conspiring to Transport 1,500 Kilograms of Cocaine on Private Jet
Todd Macaluso Planned to Pilot Millions of Dollars of Cocaine across International Borders
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Todd Macaluso, a former attorney, was sentenced by United States District Judge I. Leo Glasser to 15 years’ imprisonment, following his November 2017 jury trial conviction for participating in an international cocaine distribution conspiracy. Macaluso was also ordered by the court to pay a $10,000 fine.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office (FBI); Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York; James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division; James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD); and George P. Beach, Superintendent, New York State Police (NYSP), announced the sentence.
“Todd Macaluso orchestrated a scheme with drug cartel members to smuggle 1,500 kilograms of cocaine worth tens of millions of dollars from Ecuador to Honduras in his private jet for ultimate distribution here in the United States,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Today’s sentence puts international drug traffickers and their associates on notice that we will bring the full weight of the law to bear on those that play any role in bringing dangerous drugs into our communities.”
“There is no doubt that Macaluso was driven by greed when he decided to transport 1,500 kilograms of cocaine in his private jet,” stated FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Lasky. “Instead of profiting from this poison, his illicit career was brought to an abrupt end through close cooperation with our law enforcement partners.”
“Macaluso’s illegal actions are indicative of his ignorance in knowing the law. And, this sentencing shows that there is no difference if you are a drug dealer, pilot or attorney when you have been arrested and convicted on federal drug charges,” stated DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Hunt. “This sentencing is a result of hard work by multiple law enforcement agencies at a local, federal and international level.”
“Macaluso’s crime is made even more egregious by the fact that he knew the law better than most as a former attorney, and yet chose to participate in an international conspiracy to distribute cocaine,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez. “HSI used its multifaceted investigative authorities with its partners to pursue and dismantle this drug trafficking operation, in the process showing that no individual is above the law.”
“Today’s sentencing proves again that our multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional partnerships have a very long reach,” stated NYPD Police Commissioner O’Neill. “When a crime is committed, particularly one of this size and scope, we are relentless in bringing those responsible to justice.”
“This individual is someone who was sworn to uphold the law and conspired to break it,” stated NYSP Superintendent Beach. “I applaud our law enforcement officials at all levels for their strong police work in this case and for their continued dedication to preventing the trafficking of cocaine and other harmful narcotics within our communities. The culmination of this investigation and the disruption of this international illegal drug trafficking operation sends a clear message that we will find and punish the people who are responsible for putting these illegal substances in the hands of our youth and others.”
The evidence at trial established that in exchange for $200,000 Macaluso agreed with members of an international drug cartel to provide and pilot a private Falcon 10 airplane to transport 1,500 kilograms of cocaine worth tens of millions of dollars from Ecuador to Honduras, where the cocaine would be sold to Mexican drug traffickers and then imported into the United States. In furtherance of the scheme, Macaluso met repeatedly with drug traffickers in Tijuana, Mexico. On November 2016, Macaluso flew his jet to Haiti, met with the drug traffickers and agreed to transport the cocaine the following day. However, before Macaluso could transport the drugs, he was arrested and extradited to the United States for prosecution.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan C. Harris, Hiral D. Mehta and Keith D. Edelman are in charge of the prosecution.
Residence: San Diego, California
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-609
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Eastern District of New York