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Diego Navarrete Beltran Plea Agreement for Hostage-Taking of U.S. Citizens
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U.S. Department of Justice
Vincent H. Cohen,
Jr. Acting United States Attorney
District of Columbia
August 21, 2015
Ron Earnest, Esq.
Riverdale, MD 20737
Re: United States v. Diego A. Navarrete Beltran
Criminal Case No. J 0-339-17 (RCL)
Dear Mr. Earnest:
This letter sets forth the full and complete plea offer to your client, Diego A. Navarrete Beltran (hereinafter referred to as "your client" or "defendant"), from the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice (hereinafter also collectively referred to as "the Government" or "this Office"). This plea offer expires on August 26, 2015. If your client accepts the terms and conditions of this offer, please have your client execute this document in the space provided below. Upon receipt of the executed document, this letter will become the Plea Agreement (hereinafter referred to as "this Agreement"). The terms of the offer are as follows:
1. Charges and Statutory Penalties
Your client agrees to plead guilty to Count Three, Count Four, and Count Five in the Superseding Indictment in this case, charging him with hostage taking and aiding and abetting an act to be done, in violation of 18 U.S.C § 1203(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. These three counts in the superseding indictment relate to the hostage taking in Colombia of American citizens Thomas Howe, Keith Stansell, and Marc Gonsalves.
Your client understands that a violation of 18 U.S.C § 1203(a) carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; a fine of $250,000 pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3571(b)(3); a term of supervised release of not more than 5 years, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(b)(1); mandatory restitution under 18 U.S.C. § 3663A; and an obligation to pay any applicable interest or penalties on fines and restitution not timely made. Nevertheless, pursuant to the assurances provided to the government of the Republic of Colombia as part of the extradition process in this case, the United States cannot ask for a sentence of imprisonment of over sixty (60) years.
In addition, your client agrees to pay a special assessment of $100 per felony conviction to the Clerk of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia prior to the date of sentencing. Your client also understands that, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3572 and § 5E1.2 of the United States Sentencing Commission, Guidelines Manual (2014) (hereinafter "Sentencing Guidelines," "Guidelines," or "U.S.S.G."), the Court may also impose a fine that is sufficient to pay the federal government the costs of any imprisonment, term of supervised release, and period of probation. Further, your client understands that, if your client has two or more convictions for a crime of violence or felony drug offense, your client may be subject to the substantially higher guideline penalties provided for in the career offender statutes and provisions of the Sentencing Guidelines.
2. Factual Stipulations
Your client agrees that the attached "Stipulated Statement of Offense in Support of Guilty Plea" fairly and accurately describes your client's actions and involvement in the offenses to which your client is pleading guilty. Please have your client sign and return the Statement of Offense as a written proffer of evidence, along with this Agreement.
3. Additional Charges
In consideration of your client's guilty plea to the above offenses, your client will not be further prosecuted criminally by this Office for the conduct set forth in the attached Statement of Offense. The Government will request that the Court dismiss the remaining counts of the Indictment in this case at the time of sentencing. Your client agrees and acknowledges that the charges to be dismissed at the time of sentencing were based in fact.
After the entry of your client's plea of guilty to the offenses identified in section one above, your client will not be charged with any non-violent criminal offense in violation of Federal or District of Columbia law which was committed within the District of Columbia by your client prior to the execution of this Agreement and about which the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia was made aware by your client prior to the execution of this Agreement. However, the United States expressly reserves its right to prosecute your client for any crime of violence, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 16 and/or 22 D.C. Code § 4501, if in fact your client committed or commits such a crime of violence prior to or after the execution of this Agreement.
4. Sentencing Guidelines Analysis
Your client understands that the sentence in this case will be determined by the Court, pursuant to the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), including a consideration of the applicable guidelines and policies promulgated by the United States Sentencing Commission, Guidelines Manual. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(B), and to assist the Court in determining the appropriate sentence, the parties agree to the following:
A. Estimated Offense Level Under the Guidelines
The parties agree that the following Sentencing Guidelines sections apply:
§ 2A4.1(a) Kidnaping, Abduction, or Unlawful Restraint (Base Offense Level) 32 § 2A4.1(b)(1) Demand upon government was made 06 § 2A4.1(b)(3) Dangerous weapon was used 02 § 2A4.1(b)(4)(A) Victim not released before thirty days elapsed 02 Applicable Adjustments § 3 A 1.4 Federal Crime of Terrorism 12 § 3B1.2 Mitigating Role -02 § 3D 1.4(a) Combined Offense Level (see 3D 1.2(d) exclusion) 03
The Government agrees that a 2-level reduction will be appropriate in this case, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3El.l(a), provided that your client clearly demonstrates acceptance of responsibility, to the satisfaction of the Government, through your client's allocution, adherence to every provision of this Agreement, and conduct between entry of the plea and imposition of sentence. Furthermore, assuming your client has accepted responsibility as described in the previous sentence, the Government agrees that an additional 1-level reduction will be appropriate, pursuant to U.S.S.G § 3E 1.1(b), because your client has assisted authorities by providing timely notice of your client's intention to enter a plea of guilty, thereby permitting the Government to avoid preparing for trial and permitting the Court to allocate its resources efficiently.
Nothing in this Plea Agreement limits the right of the Government to seek denial of the adjustment for acceptance of responsibility, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1, and/or imposition of an adjustment for obstruction of justice, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1, regardless of any stipulation set forth above, should your client move to withdraw his guilty plea once it is entered, or should it be determined that your client has either (a) engaged in conduct, unknown to the Government at the time of the signing of this Plea Agreement, that constitutes obstruction of justice, or (b) engaged in additional criminal conduct after signing this Plea Agreement.
In accordance with the above, the applicable Guidelines Offense Level will be at least 52.
B. Estimated Criminal History Category
Based upon the information now available to this Office, your client has no prior criminal convictions. In any event, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4A1.2(h), sentences resulting from foreign convictions are not counted. However, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 3A 1.4(b), your client's Criminal History Category for sentencing purposes is Category VI because the offenses for which he is pleading guilty are defined as federal crimes of terrorism.
C. Estimated Applicable Guidelines Range
Based upon the agreed total offense level and the estimated criminal history category set forth above, your client's estimated Sentencing Guidelines range is life. In addition, the parties agree that, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5E1.2, should the Court impose a fine, at Guidelines level 52, the estimated applicable fine range is $25,000 to $250,000. Your client reserves the right to ask the Court not to impose any applicable fine.
The parties agree that, solely for the purposes of calculating the applicable range under the Sentencing Guidelines, neither a downward nor upward departure from the Estimated Guidelines Range set forth above is warranted. Accordingly, neither party will seek any departure or adjustment to the Estimated Guidelines Range, nor will either party suggest that the Court consider such a departure or adjustment, except as provided above. Moreover, your client understands and acknowledges that the Estimated Guidelines Range agreed to by the parties is not binding on the Probation Office or the Court. Should the Court determine that a different guidelines range is applicable, your client will not be permitted to withdraw your client's guilty plea on that basis, and the Government and your client will still be bound by this Agreement.
Your client understands and acknowledges that the terms of this section apply only to conduct that occurred before the execution of this Agreement. Should your client commit any conduct after the execution of this Agreement that would form the basis for an increase in your client's base offense level or justify an upward departure (examples of which include, but are not limited to, obstruction of justice, failure to appear for a court proceeding, criminal conduct while pending sentencing, and false statements to law enforcement agents, the probation officer, or the Court), the Government is free under this Agreement to seek an increase in the base offense level based on that post-agreement conduct.
5. Agreement as to Sentencing Allocution
The parties further agree that a sentence within the Estimated Guidelines Range would constitute a reasonable sentence in light of all of the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). However, your client reserves the right to seek a sentence below the Estimated Guidelines Range based upon factors to be considered in imposing a sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).
6. Reservation of Allocution
The Government agrees not to allocute for more than 27 years of incarceration. Apart from that, the Government and your client reserve the right to describe fully, both orally and in writing, to the sentencing judge, the nature and seriousness of your client's misconduct, including any misconduct not described in the charges to which your client is pleading guilty. The parties also reserve the right to inform the presentence report writer and the Court of any relevant facts, to dispute any factual inaccuracies in the presentence report, and to contest any matters not provided for in this Agreement. In the event that the Court considers any Sentencing Guidelines adjustments, departures, or calculations different from any agreements contained in this Agreement, or contemplates a sentence outside the Guidelines range based upon the general sentencing factors listed in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), the parties reserve the right to answer any related inquiries from the Court. In addition, if in this Agreement the parties have agreed to recommend or refrain from recommending to the Court a particular resolution of any sentencing issue, the parties reserve the right to full allocution in any post-sentence litigation. The parties retain the full right of allocution in connection with any post-sentence motion which may be filed in this matter and/or any proceeding(s) before the Bureau of Prisons. In addition, your client acknowledges that the Government is not obligated and does not intend to file any post-sentence downward departure motion in this case pursuant to Rule 35(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
7. Court Not Bound by this Agreement or the Sentencing Guidelines
Your client understands that the sentence in this case will be imposed in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), upon consideration of the Sentencing Guidelines. Your client further understands that the sentence to be imposed is a matter solely within the discretion of the Court. Your client acknowledges that the Court is not obligated to follow any recommendation of the Government at the time of sentencing. Your client understands that neither the Government's recommendation nor the Sentencing Guidelines are binding on the Court.
Your client acknowledges that your client's entry of a guilty plea to the charged offenses authorizes the Court to impose any sentence, up to and including the statutory maximum sentence, which may be greater than the applicable Guidelines range. The Government cannot, and does not, make any promise or representation as to what sentence your client will receive. Moreover, it is understood that your client will have no right to withdraw your client's plea of guilty should the Court impose a sentence that is outside the Guidelines range or if the Court does not follow the Government's sentencing recommendation. The Government and your client will be bound by this Agreement, regardless of the sentence imposed by the Court. Any effort by your client to withdraw the guilty plea because of the length of the sentence shall constitute a breach of this Agreement.
8. Conditions of Release
Your client acknowledges that, because your client is pleading guilty to an offense described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1), the Court is required to order your client to be detained pending sentencing pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3143(a)(2).
Your client waives any challenge to venue in the District of Columbia.
B. Statute of Limitations
Your client agrees that, should the conviction following your client's plea of guilty pursuant to this Agreement be vacated for any reason, any prosecution, based on the conduct set forth in the attached Statement of Offense, that is not time-barred by the applicable statute of limitations on the date of the signing of this Agreement (including any counts that the Government has agreed not to prosecute or to dismiss at sentencing pursuant to this Agreement) may be commenced or reinstated against your client, notwithstanding the expiration of the statute of limitations between the signing of this Agreement and the commencement or reinstatement of such prosecution. It is the intent of this Agreement to waive all defenses based on the statute of limitations with respect to any prosecution of conduct set forth in the attached Statement of Offense that is not time-barred on the date that this Agreement is signed.
C. Trial Rights
Your client understands that by pleading guilty in this case your client agrees to waive certain rights afforded by the Constitution of the United States and/or by statute or rule. Your client agrees to forego the right to any further discovery or disclosures of information not already provided at the time of the entry of your client's guilty plea. Your client also agrees to waive, among other rights, the right to plead not guilty, and the right to a jury trial. If there were a jury trial, your client would have the right to be represented by counsel, to confront and cross-examine witnesses against your client, to compel witnesses to appear for the purpose of testifying and presenting other evidence on your client's behalf, and to choose whether to testify. If there were a jury trial and your client chose not to testify at that trial, your client would have the right to have the jury instructed that your client's failure to testify could not be held against your client. Your client would further have the right to have the jury instructed that your client is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that the burden would be on the United States to prove your client's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If your client were found guilty after a trial, your client would have the right to appeal your client's conviction. Your client understands that the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects your client from the use of self-incriminating statements in a criminal prosecution. By entering a plea of guilty, your client knowingly and voluntarily waives or gives up your client's right against self-incrimination.
Your client acknowledges discussing with you Rule 11(f) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and Rule 410 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which ordinarily limit the admissibility of statements made by a defendant in the course of plea discussions or plea proceedings if a guilty plea is later withdrawn. Your client knowingly and voluntarily waives the rights that arise under these rules in the event your client withdraws your client's guilty plea or withdraws from this Agreement after signing it.
Your client also agrees to waive all constitutional and statutory rights to a speedy sentence and agrees that the plea of guilty pursuant to this Agreement will be entered at a time decided upon by the parties with the concurrence of the Court. Your client understands that the date for sentencing will be set by the Court.
D. Appeal Rights
Your client understands that federal law, specifically 18 U.S.C. § 3742, affords defendants the right to appeal their sentences in certain circumstances. Your client agrees to waive the right to appeal the sentence in this case, including any term of imprisonment, fine, forfeiture, award of restitution, term of supervised release, and the manner in which the sentence was determined, except to the extent the Court sentences your client above the statutory maximum or guidelines range determined by the Court, in which case your client would have the right to appeal the illegal sentence or above-guidelines sentence, but not to raise on appeal other issues regarding the sentencing. In agreeing to this waiver, your client is aware that your client's sentence has yet to be determined by the Court. Realizing the uncertainty in estimating what sentence the Court ultimately will impose, your client knowingly and willingly waives your client's right to appeal the sentence, to the extent noted above, in exchange for the concessions made by the Government in this Agreement.
E. Collateral Attack
Your client also waives any right to challenge the conviction entered or sentence imposed under this Agreement or otherwise attempt to modify or change the sentence or the manner in which it was determined in any collateral attack, including, but not limited to, a motion brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 or Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b), except to the extent such a motion is based on newly discovered evidence or on a claim that your client received ineffective assistance of counsel in entering into this Agreement.
F. Privacy Act and FOIA Rights
Your client also agrees to waive all rights, whether asserted directly or by a representative, to request or receive from any department or agency of the United States any records pertaining to the investigation or prosecution of this case, including and without limitation any records that may be sought under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, or the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a.
G. Use of Self-Incriminating Information
The Government and your client agree, in accordance with U.S.S.G. § IB 1.8, that the Government will be free to use against your client for any purpose at the sentencing in this case or in any related criminal or civil proceedings, any self-incriminating information provided by your client pursuant to this Agreement or during the course of debriefings conducted in anticipation of this Agreement, regardless of whether those debriefings were previously covered by an "off the record" agreement by the parties.
Your client understands that the Court has an obligation to determine whether, and in what amount, mandatory restitution applies in this case under 18 U.S.C. § 3663A.
Payments of restitution shall be made to the Clerk of the Court. In order to facilitate the collection of financial obligations to be imposed in connection with this prosecution, your client agrees to disclose fully all assets in which your client has any interest or over which your client exercises control, directly or indirectly, including those held by a spouse, nominee or other third party. Your client agrees to submit a completed financial statement on a standard financial disclosure form which has been provided to you with this Agreement to the Financial Litigation Unit of the United States Attorney's Office, as it directs. If you do not receive the disclosure form, your client agrees to request one from email@example.com. Your client will complete and electronically provide the standard financial disclosure form to firstname.lastname@example.org 30 days prior to your client's sentencing. Your client agrees to be contacted by the Financial Litigation Unit of the United States Attorney's Office, through defense counsel, to complete a financial statement. Upon review, if there are any follow-up questions, your client agrees to cooperate with the Financial Litigation Unit. Your client promises that the financial statement and disclosures will be complete, accurate and truthful, and understands that any willful falsehood on the financial statement could be prosecuted as a separate crime punishable under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which carries an additional five years' incarceration and a fine.
Your client expressly authorizes the United States Attorney's Office to obtain a credit report on your client in order to evaluate your client's ability to satisfy any financial obligations imposed by the Court or agreed to herein.
Your client understands and agrees that the restitution or fines imposed by the Court will be due and payable immediately and subject to immediate enforcement by the United States. If the Court imposes a schedule of payments, your client understands that the schedule of payments is merely a minimum schedule of payments and will not be the only method, nor a limitation on the methods, available to the United States to enforce the criminal judgment. If your client is sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the Court, your client agrees to participate in the Bureau of Prisons' Inmate Financial Responsibility Program, regardless of whether the Court specifically imposes a schedule of payments.
Your client certifies that your client has made no transfer of assets in contemplation of this prosecution for the purpose of evading or defeating financial obligations that are created by this Agreement and/or that may be imposed by the Court. In addition, your client promises to make no such transfers in the future until your client has fulfilled the financial obligations under this Agreement.
11. Immigration Consequences
Your client recognizes that because your client is not a citizen of the United States, your client's guilty plea and conviction make it very likely that your client's deportation from the United States is presumptively mandatory and that, at a minimum, your client is at risk of being deported or suffering other adverse immigration consequences. Your client acknowledges discussing the possible immigration consequences (including deportation) of this guilty plea and conviction with you. Your client affirms that your client wants to plead guilty regardless of any immigration consequences that may result from the guilty plea and conviction, even if those consequences include deportation from the United States. It is agreed that your client will have no right to withdraw this guilty plea based on any actual or perceived adverse immigration consequences (including deportation) resulting from the guilty plea and conviction. It is further agreed that your client will not challenge your client's conviction or sentence on direct appeal, or through litigation under 28 U.S.C §§ 2255 and/or 2241, on the basis of any actual or perceived adverse immigration consequences (including deportation) resulting from your client's guilty plea and conviction.
A. Stipulated Judicial Order of Removal
Your client agrees to the entry of a stipulated judicial order of removal pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1228(c)(5). Specifically, your client agrees that your client is removable from the United States upon the completion of the sentence imposed in this case. Your client consents to the entry of an order of removal issued by this Court and to the immediate execution of such order upon completion of the sentence imposed in this case. Your client waives the right to the notice and hearing provided for in 8 U.S.C. § 1228(c)(2), and further waives any and all rights to appeal, reopen, reconsider, or otherwise challenge this stipulated removal. The United States represents that it has sought and received permission from the Secretary of the DHS to seek your client's stipulated removal pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1228(c)(5). Your client further agrees, together with the United States, to request that the District Court enter a specific finding that your client's waiver of your client's right to challenge the stipulated removal is knowing and voluntary.
B. Waiver of Rights Related to Removal from the United States
Your client agrees to waive your client's rights to any and all forms of relief or protection from removal, deportation, or exclusion under the Immigration and Nationality Act (as amended) and related federal regulations. These rights include, but are not limited to, the ability to apply for the following forms of relief or protection from removal: (a) voluntary departure; (b) asylum; (c) withholding of deportation or removal; (d) cancellation of removal; (e) suspension of deportation; (f) adjustment of status; and (g) protection under Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture.
C. Your Client's Cooperation in Your Client's Removal
Your client agrees to assist the DHS in the execution of your client's removal. Specifically, your client agrees to assist the DHS in the procurement of any travel or other documents necessary for your client's removal; to meet with and to cooperate with representatives of the country or countries to which your client's removal is directed; and to execute those forms, applications, or waivers needed to execute or expedite your client's removal. Your client further understands that your client's failure or refusal to assist the DHS in the execution of your client's removal shall breach this Agreement and may subject your client to criminal penalties under 8 U.S.C. § 1253.
Your client agrees that if an interpreter is required to assist your client in translating this Agreement into your client's native language, then your client agrees to request the Court, pursuant to "The Court Interpreter's Act," 28 U.S.C. § 1827, to secure the services of a certified interpreter at the Court's expense to verbally translate this Agreement and related documents for your client into your client's native language. If no such request is made, then your client hereby declares that your client understands the English language sufficiently well to read and understand this Agreement, or that this Agreement has been read to your client in your client's native language and that your client therefore understands this Agreement.
13. Breach of Agreement
Your client understands and agrees that, if after entering this Agreement, your client fails specifically to perform or to fulfill completely each and every one of your client's obligations under this Agreement, or engages in any criminal activity prior to sentencing, your client will have breached this Agreement. In the event of such a breach: (a) the Government will be free from its obligations under this Agreement; (b) your client will not have the right to withdraw the guilty plea; (c) your client will be fully subject to criminal prosecution for any other crimes, including perjury and obstruction of justice; and (d) the Government will be free to use against your client, directly and indirectly, in any criminal or civil proceeding, all statements made by your client and any of the information or materials provided by your client, including such statements, information and materials provided pursuant to this Agreement or during the course of any debriefings conducted in anticipation of, or after entry of, this Agreement, whether or not the debriefings were previously characterized as "off-the-record" debriefings, and including your client's statements made during proceedings before the Court pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Your client understands and agrees that the Government shall be required to prove a breach of this Agreement only by a preponderance of the evidence, except where such breach is based on a violation of federal, state, or local criminal law, which the Government need prove only by probable cause in order to establish a breach of this Agreement.
Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to permit your client to commit perjury, to make false statements or declarations, to obstruct justice, or to protect your client from prosecution for any crimes not included within this Agreement or committed by your client after the execution of this Agreement. Your client understands and agrees that the Government reserves the right to prosecute your client for any such offenses. Your client further understands that any perjury, false statements or declarations, or obstruction of justice relating to your client's obligations under this Agreement shall constitute a breach of this Agreement. In the event of such a breach, your client will not be allowed to withdraw your client's guilty plea.
14. Complete Agreement
No agreements, promises, understandings, or representations have been made by the parties or their counsel other than those contained in writing herein, nor will any such agreements, promises, understandings, or representations be made unless committed to writing and signed by your client defense counsel, and an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Your client further understands that this Agreement is binding only upon the Criminal and Superior Court Divisions of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. This Agreement does not bind the Civil Division of this Office or any other United States Attorney's Office, nor does it bind any other state, local, or federal prosecutor. It also does not bar or compromise any civil, tax, or administrative claim pending or that may be made against your client.
If the foregoing terms and conditions are satisfactory, your client may so indicate by signing the Agreement and the Statement of Offense, and returning both to me no later than April 15, 2015.
VINCENT H. COHEN JR.
Acting United States Attorney
D.C. Bar No. 471-489
Assistant United States Attorney
National Security Section
D.C. Bar No. 451-210
David P. Cora
National Security Division
FL Bar No. 471-623
I have read every page of this Agreement and have discussed it with my attorney, Ron Earnest. I fully understand this Agreement and agree to it without reservation. I do this voluntarily and of my own free will, intending to be legally bound. No threats have been made to me nor am I under the influence of anything that could impede my ability to understand this Agreement fully. I am pleading guilty because I am in fact guilty of the offenses identified in this Agreement.
I reaffirm that absolutely no promises, agreements, understandings, or conditions have been made or entered into in connection with my decision to plead guilty except those set forth in this Agreement. I am satisfied with the legal services provided by my attorney in connection with this Agreement and matters related to it.
Diego A. Navarrete Beltran
I have read every page of this Agreement, reviewed this Agreement with my client, Diego A. Navarrete Beltran, and fully discussed the provisions of this Agreement with my client. These pages accurately and completely set forth the entire Agreement. I concur in my client's desire to plead guilty as set forth in this Agreement.
Ron Earnest, Esq.
Attorney for the Defendant
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
DIEGO A. NAVARRETE BELTRAN,
CRIMINAL NO. 10-339-17 (RCL)
STIPULATED STATEMENT OF OFFENSE IN SUPPORT OF GUILTY PLEA
The United States of America, through its attorney, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, and Diego Alfonso Navarrete Beltran (the "defendant") hereby submit this stipulated statement of offense in support of a guilty plea.
Elements of the Offenses
The defendant is charged in Count Three, Count Four, and Count Five of a pending Superseding Indictment with Hostage Taking and Aiding and Abetting and Causing an Act to be Done, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1203(a) and 2, as a result of the hostage taking in the Republic of Colombia of three United States nationals: Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell, and Marc Gonsalves (hereinafter referred to collectively as "the American hostages"). The essential elements of this offense are:
First, that from on or about February 13, 2003, and continuing thereafter until July 2, 2008, the American hostages were seized and detained. A seizure or detention consists of holding or confining another person against his or her will.
Second, that while seized or detained, the American hostages were threatened with death, injury, or continued detention, and that such a threat was communicated to someone else.
Third, that the American hostages were seized and detained, and that their death, injury, or continued detention was threatened in order to compel the government of the Republic of Colombia to do certain acts as a condition of their release from captivity namely, that the government of the Republic of Colombia create a demilitarized zone and conduct a prisoner exchange as explicit and implicit conditions for the release of the American hostages.
Fourth, that the defendant himself either committed those acts - seizing or detaining the American hostages, and threatening to kill, injure or continue to detain them - or caused those acts to be done, or aided and abetted the doing of those acts.
Fifth, that the American hostages - Thomas Howes (Count Three), Keith Stansell (Count Four), and Marc Gonsalves (Count Five) - are United States nationals.
Finally, that the defendant acted intentionally, deliberately, and knowingly — that is, not by accident, inadvertence, or mistake.
The United States of America and the defendant agree that the following facts are true and accurate and that, had this case proceeded to trial, the United States would have proven the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt. The facts recited in paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 are not personally known to the defendant, but he agrees that, had this case proceeded to trial, the United States would have proven those facts beyond a reasonable doubt.
1. The FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias Colombianas) or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia were formed in 1964 as the armed wing of the Colombian Communist Party. It has evolved into a major armed force financed by drug trafficking, hostage taking, and extortion. International human rights organizations have repeatedly accused the FARC of serious crimes including kidnapping, murder, use of land mines, threats, the recruitment of minors, forced displacement, and hostage taking.
2. The FARC is a designated foreign terrorist organization, having been so designated by the Secretary of State of the United States since October 8, 1997.
3. The United States provided Colombia with civilian and military aid used to combat narco-terrorism by the FARC and other armed groups.
4. On February 13, 2003, a single-engine Cessna Caravan aircraft with four American citizens and one Colombian citizen was flying near Florencia, Colombia, engaged in a counter-drug surveillance mission. The United States nationals in the aircraft were: Thomas J. Janis, Thomas R. Howes, Keith D. Stansell, and Marc Gonsalves. All four American citizens were civilian contractors, employed by California Microwave Systems as either pilots or systems analysts for counter-drug surveillance missions. The Colombian citizen onboard the aircraft was Luis Alcides Cruz, a sergeant with the Colombian army.
5. While conducting the mission that day, the aircraft experienced an engine failure. As the pilots were in the process of executing an off-airport emergency landing in the Colombian jungle near the town of Florencia, Colombia, members of the FARC's Teofilo Forero Castro Mobile Column — who happened to be in the area at the time of the emergency landing — opened fire on the aircraft with their automatic weapons.
6. All five occupants of the aircraft survived the emergency crash landing. They were quickly taken hostage by members of the FARC's mobile column that had previously opened fired on the aircraft. The hostages were then separated into two groups, with Howes, Stansell and Gonsalves in one group, and Janis and Cruz in the other. Janis and Cruz were murdered by members of the FARC that day.
7. For the next five and half years, Howes, Stansell, and Gonsalves, and many others, were held prisoners by the FARC and used to bargain with the Colombian government. Along with approximately a dozen Colombian hostages, they were force-marched from camp to camp in order to prevent their rescue. They were threatened, chained, and forced to participate in proof-of-life videos in order to bring pressure to bear on both the United States and Colombia, including trying to convince the government of the Republic of Colombia to create a demilitarized zone and conduct a prisoner exchange in exchange for the release of the hostages.
8. In or about October 2006, the hostages were delivered to the FARC's Southern Block's First Front, and were held prisoners by the First Front of the FARC.
9. At all times relevant to the indictment, defendant Diego Alfonso Navarrete Beltran was a member of the FARC.
10. From approximately October 2006 through mid-June 2008, the defendant, as a member of the First Front, along with other FARC guerrillas, kept the hostages under the control of the First Front. In particular, the defendant often served as an armed guard of the American hostages.
11. On or about July 2, 2008, a Colombian military operation succeeded in rescuing the American and Colombian hostages being held by the First Front of the FARC.
VINCENT H. COHEN JR.
ACTING UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
D.C. Bar No. 471489
Assistant United States Attorney
D.C. Bar No. 451210
National Security Section
Washington, D.C. 20530
David P. Cora
FL Bar No. 471623
National Security Division
I have read this factual proffer and have discussed it with my attorney, Ron Earnest, Esq. I fully understand this factual proffer. I agree and acknowledge by my signature that this proffer of facts is true and accurate. I do this voluntarily and of my own free will. No threats have been made to me nor am I under the influence of anything that could impede my ability to understand this factual proffer fully.
Diego A. Navarrete Beltran
I have read this factual proffer, and have reviewed it with my client fully. I concur in my client's desire to adopt this factual proffer as true and accurate. To my knowledge, my client's decision to agree to and adopt this factual proffer is an informed and voluntary one.
Ron Earnest, Esq.
Counsel for the Defendant
DDHH en Colombia
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