‘Biggest cocaine trafficker in Delaware’ sentenced to 45 years in prison

(vladek/BigStock)

(vladek/BigStock)

A Delaware judge has sentenced Omar Morales Colon to prison for 45 years for conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and various other drug and money laundering offenses.

Court documents referred to Colon, 45, of Bear, Delaware, as the “biggest cocaine trafficker” in the state. He was sentenced Monday by Third Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas.

Between 2009 and 2017, Colon and his wife, Shakira Martinez, 44, laundered over $1 million in drug money by purchasing real estate in Delaware and Pennsylvania using their company, Zemi Property Management. They deposited drug money into multiple bank accounts and asked friends and family members to do the same. Colon and Martinez then used those funds to buy cashier’s checks that funded the property purchases.

One of the conspirators in the money laundering scheme included Colon’s daughter, Karina Colon. While she was a teenager, she would deposit large amounts of cash into her bank accounts and buy cashier’s checks. While she was in college, she purchased real estate in her name using laundered funds.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

At one of Colon’s properties in Wilmington, he provided his cocaine suppliers a “safe garage” where they could remove cocaine from oxygen tanks and store cash. Colon also rented storage units in family members’ names, and used them to store marijuana, cash, and a kilogram press used for processing cocaine.

During their investigation, the DEA discovered an underground bunker at Colon’s house used to grow marijuana, which he accessed through a tunnel hidden behind a fake fireplace.

Authorities raised allegations of Colon being a violent offender in court documents.

The landlord of a rental property in Bear, Delaware, that Colon used for drug meetings, sent Colon a letter saying she was withholding his security deposit due to bullet holes in the walls and a large amount of blood on the floor.

Colon also admitted to using violence in his post-arrest statement when he said that he “put [someone] in a coma” for attracting authorities to him.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Colon was arrested in May 2017 after he gave his cocaine supplier $382,045 in cash in a Red Roof Hotel parking lot in Newark, Delaware.

Martinez was also convicted on money laundering and drug charges, and is set to be sentenced in February.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal