MiamiHerald / In the cocaine capital of Latin America, Miami attorney Joaquin Perez is known as the “devil’s lawyer,” especially at notorious La Picota prison in Bogotá, where Colombians charged with drug trafficking in the United States are held until their extradition.
Perez, a Cuban-American lawyer who has represented major narco-traffickers for decades, has been a fixture at the Colombian prison. He is among the pioneering criminal defense lawyers in Miami who fine-tuned the craft of serving up prized cooperating defendants to assist federal prosecutors in exchange for lower prison sentences.
Perez’s stock in trade would be to deliver them. They would supply intel on the drug cartels, serve prison time and sometimes get visas to stay in the United States. And, through it all, he got rich off huge legal fees.
But now Perez’s lucrative legal career may be threatened after he was thrown out of La Picota in mid-January when a prison director berated him and another American lawyer for trying to visit extraditable inmates without proper permission. The prison wrote up a complaint and referred it to the Colombia Attorney General’s Office. Now, prosecutors are considering filing criminal charges, according to a Colombian law enforcement source.