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Major International Drug Traffickers Extradited for Importing Narcotics into the United States

NOV 19 (SAN DIEGO) – Roberto Ponce-Rocha was extradited from Colombia on November 17, 2016,  where he had been arrested for charges arising out of his leadership role in a drug trafficking conspiracy involving the transportation of large-scale quantities of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine into the United States.  As part of the DEA’s investigation of Ponce-Rocha, which began in 2013, law enforcement authorities in the United States and abroad have seized thousands of kilograms of cocaine and other narcotics.  Ponce-Rocha, a Mexican citizen, arrived in the Southern District of New York yesterday, and was presented today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein. 

Previously, on or about May 24, 2016, two co-conspirators charged in the same Superseding Indictment, Juan Caicedo-Zuniga and Adan Munoz-Cordoba, arrived in the Southern District of New York following their extradition from Panama.  Caicedo-Zuniga and Munoz-Cordoba, who are both Colombian citizens, were arrested on charges arising out of their participation in some of the same narcotics transactions organized and facilitated by Ponce-Rocha.

DEA SAC William R. Sherman said:  “The extradition of these alleged international drug traffickers sends a clear message to those who are thinking about endangering the citizens of our country with these potentially deadly drugs: your greed will get you an all-expenses paid trip to the United States and a nice long stay in a federal detention facility.” 

Ponce-Rocha was arrested by Colombian authorities on or about March 20, 2016, in Colombia. Ponce-Rocha, 55, is charged in one count of conspiring to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine, at least one kilogram of heroin, and at least 500 grams of methamphetamine, knowing that such substances would be imported into the United States.  That charge carries a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison. 


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