MIAMI -- Mario Fabricio Ormachea Aliaga, 42, the deputy chief of the Bolivia National Police Corp's anti-corruption unit, was arrested in Miami and charged with extortion and racketeering against a Bolivian businessman who had fled the country in 2010.
Ormachea made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry L. Garber on Tuesday, September 3, 2013. On September 16, US Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman ruled that Ormachea was a flight risk and ordered him held without bond. He pled not guilty when arraigned on September 17.
According to the allegations in the complaint, the FBI was contacted by Bolivian businessman Humberto Roca -- the former president of AeroSur, once Bolivia’s largest private airline -- on August 29, 2013. Roca told the FBI that Ormachea had contacted him to request a meeting in the United States.
Roca had left Bolivia in 2010, saying he faced political persecution after prosecutors accused AeroSur of providing tickets to foreign mercenaries. In December, a Bolivian judge issued an arrest warrant for Roca for “illegal enrichment.” Roca says the charges were politically motivated in an effort by Bolivian President Evo Morales to stamp out competition to the state-owned airline.
On August 29, 2013, Ormachea departed La Paz, Bolivia on a commercial flight to Lima, Peru, and then flew on another commercial flight to Miami International Airport. At Miami International Airport, Ormachea presented a valid Bolivian passport containing a valid United States tourist visa to United States Customs and Border Protection, who admitted him into the United States.
On August 30, 2013, Roca met with Ormachea. The FBI monitored and recorded this meeting. During the meeting, Ormachea discussed the issues surrounding the criminal case against Roca in Bolivia and Ormachea offered to dispose of the criminal charges pending against Roca in Bolivia for a fee of $30,000. Ormachea agreed to take a payment of $10,000 immediately and receive the remainder of the payment later.
On Saturday, August 31, 2013, Roca met with Ormachea again. The FBI monitored and recorded this meeting. During the course of the meeting, Ormachea stated that, in exchange for $30,000, he would drop the charges against Roca and charge someone else instead. If, however, Roca did not pay, Ormachea said that he would pursue Roca’s arrest in the United States, extradition to Bolivia, and prosecution there. Roca gave Ormachea $5,000 in previously-recorded bills as an initial payment towards the $30,000 required to resolve the charges against him. After the meeting, Ormachea departed by car.
FBI surveillance teams in coordination with local law enforcement conducted a traffic stop of Ormachea shortly thereafter. Ormachea was detained and $5,000 was recovered from his person. A review of the seized U.S. currency revealed that it matched the previously recorded bills.
Law enforcement officials interviewed Ormachea at the Miami Field Office of the FBI. After receiving and waiving his Miranda warnings in writing, Ormachea acknowledged meeting with Roca on two occasions but denied attempting to extort him.
Ormachea acknowledged that he is a member of the Bolivian National Police Corps, but stated that he was not traveling in his official capacity as a diplomat of Bolivia.
Bolivia’s deputy police chief, General Juan Roberto Albarracin, told reporters that Ormachea was a “deserter” and that his U.S. trip had not been officially approved.
Ormachea's trial is scheduled for October 21. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for the extortion and 5 years for the racketeering.