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Los Zetas Cartel Member Sentenced to Over 33 Years in Prison on Federal Drug Charges

SEP 02 (NEW ORLEANS) – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite announced that Efrain Grimaldo, a resident of Mexico, was sentenced today by U.S. District Chief Judge Sarah S. Vance to serve 405 months in prison for his role in a large-scale drug conspiracy.

On February 26, 2014, Grimaldo was convicted by a federal jury for conspiracy to possess and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Grimaldo’s organization was responsible for distributing hundreds of kilograms of cocaine throughout the United States, to include Jackson, Mississippi; Pensacola, Florida; New York City, New York; Detroit, Michigan; Baltimore, Maryland, Dover, Delaware; and Houma, Louisiana. During sentencing Judge Vance found that Grimaldo was a member of the Los Zetas Cartel. Further, she held that Grimaldo was responsible for the importation of 1,640 kilograms of cocaine during the conspiracy. The investigation revealed that the conspirators supplied cocaine to the “Up Da Bayou Boyz” (UBB), a violent street gang that operated in Houma, Louisiana.

Co-defendant Sergio Grimaldo has recently been extradited from Mexico on these same charges and is scheduled for trial on December 15, 2014. Co-defendant Sabino Duarte has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

“The Los Zetas Drug Cartel, of which Efrain Grimaldo is a member, is responsible for death and suffering from the cities and towns of Mexico, across the U.S. border, and into our communities in Louisiana,” stated Keith Brown, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA. “DEA and the law enforcement community are committed to ending the destruction brought on by these international drug cartels. The sentence handed down to Efrain Grimaldo is another step forward in our efforts to stop the flow of drugs into our country and city, and to halting the spread of drug abuse and violence.”

“Efrain Grimaldo was responsible for importing massive quantities of cocaine into the United States, including communities here in Southeast Louisiana,” stated U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite. “As a member of the Los Zetas cartel, one of the most notorious criminal enterprises in Mexico or the United States, Grimaldo endangered the lives of innocent people on both sides of the border. As a result of today’s sentencing, he will spend over 33 years in federal prison as punishment for his crimes.”

Assisting the DEA New Orleans in this investigation include the DEA Houston, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA); FBI New Orleans; FBI Houston, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office; the Houma Police Department; the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office; and the Louisiana State Police Troop “C” Narcotics.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John F. Murphy and Theodore R. Carter, III.

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.

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