Guatemala Extradites Colombian Heroin Trafficker
FEB 12 --(Manhattan, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA"), MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and JOSEPH R. GUCCIONE, the United States Marshal for the Southern District of New York, announced that ALIRIO MUNOZ-MUNOZ, a citizen of Colombia, arrived in New York on Saturday, February 9, 2008 after being extradited from Guatemala on federal charges of conspiring to import at least 5 kilograms of heroin into the United States. MUNOZ-MUNOZ is the third defendant to be extradited from Guatemala in connection with this case; the earlier extraditions of codefendants LUIS LEMUS and JAVIER ARMAS-REYES were the first extraditions of drug traffickers from Guatemala on federal charges in over a decade. MUNOZ-MUNOZ is expected to be presented later today in Manhattan federal court.
DEA Special Agent in Charge JOHN P. GILBRIDE stated, “This effort to bring to justice those responsible for illegal drug distribution is representative of international law enforcement’s goal – to identify and arrest drug traffickers. This extradition marks the end of one drug trafficking organization’s ability to smuggle heroin into our community.”
According to the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court: From October 2003 to June 2004, MUNOZ-MUNOZ participated in a conspiracy to import kilogram-quantities of heroin into the United States. MUNOZ-MUNOZ’s co-conspirators assisted in the distribution of the narcotics and the collection of their proceeds, in New York. A shipment of 5 kilograms of heroin belonging to the conspiracy was seized from a hidden compartment in a car in the Bronx in 2004.
MUNOZ-MUNOZ is charged with one count of conspiracy to import heroin into the United States, one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin, and one count of possessing heroin with intent to distribute it. If convicted, MUNOZ-MUNOZ faces on each count a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Drug Enforcement Task Force -- which includes agents and officers of the 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 Marshals Service for their work in effectuating the extradition. Mr. GARCIA expressed his gratitude to the Guatemalan authorities and law enforcement community for its cooperation in the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney JESSICA A. ROTH is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.