News Release
March 28, 2007
Erin Mulvey
Public Information Officer

Guatemala Extradites Drug Traffickers For The First Time In A Decade
Heroin Smugglers used Car Batteries for Concealment  

MAR 28 -- NEW YORK, NY (March 23, 2007) – John P. Gilbride, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and Michael Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that LUIS LEMUS and JAVIER ARMAS-REYES, both citizens of Guatemala, arrived in New York yesterday evening after being extradited from Guatemala on federal charges of importing at least 5 kilograms of heroin into the United States. This is the first time that Guatemala has extradited drug traffickers on federal charges in over a decade.

“When your car battery is dead, you can’t drive anywhere. In this case the car batteries DEA seized were filled with deadly drugs and driven across the border. The extraditions last night prove that these two individuals will be facing the consequences of their illegal actions and driven to jail,” stated DEA SAC John P. Gilbride.

ARMAS-REYES and LEMUS will be presented in Manhattan federal court later today. According to the Indictment filed in November 2004: From October 2003 to June 2004, LEMUS and ARMAS-REYES participated in a conspiracy to import into the United States at least 5 kilograms of heroin. In the Spring of 2004, both LEMUS and ARMAS-REYES were present in New York to assist in the collection of narcotics proceeds and in the distribution of narcotics. Both defendants attended meetings with co-conspirators in the Bronx in April 2004, and LEMUS had a telephone conversation about the collection of drug proceeds to be transported to Guatemala. On May 4, 2004, ARMAS-REYES was in a car containing approximately $43,000 in narcotics proceeds, which were concealed in the car. A month later, on June 4, 2004, a co-conspirator drove a car, in which approximately 5 kilograms of heroin were hidden, to a meeting in the Bronx. ARMAS-REYES and LEMUS are charged with one count of conspiracy to import heroin into the United States, and one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin. LEMUS is also charged with distributing heroin.
If convicted, each defendant faces on each count a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

US Attorney Michael Garcia praised the investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, which includes agents and officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA"), the New York City Police Department, and the New York State Police -- and the DEA's Guatemala country office. Mr. Garcia also thanked the Office of International Affairs of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and the United States Marshal's Service for its work in effectuating the extradition. Mr. Garcia also expressed his gratitude to the Guatemalan authorities and law enforcement community for its cooperation in the investigation.