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Alleged heroin cell leader extradited

SEP 13 (SAN DIEGO) – Jose Rafael Camacho-Ontiveros, the alleged leader of a Mexican heroin trafficking organization, was extradited to the United States by Mexico yesterday and made his first appearance in federal court this afternoon.

A federal grand jury in San Diego returned an indictment on October 14, 2011, charging Camacho-Ontiveros and 11 other alleged members of the Mexican heroin trafficking organization. Camacho-Ontiveros was charged with Engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering. That same day, the Clerk of the Court issued a sealed warrant for his arrest. Six defendants remain fugitives.   

In February 2010, Drug Enforcement Administration agents began investigating a Mexican drug trafficking organization that smuggled white heroin across the Southwest Border destined for various cities along the East Coast. The organization’s preferred smuggling method was to place the heroin in the soles of its couriers’ shoes. In total, DEA agents intercepted 38 telephones during this year-long investigation resulting in 14 heroin and money seizures throughout the United States.

“This country is in the midst of the worst opioid epidemic in history,” says DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman. “This case highlights DEA’s commitment to battling against the people who created this epidemic and have done so out of simple greed.”

Camacho-Ontiveros was flown by the United States Marshals Service from Mexico City to San Diego on September 12, 2017. He was arraigned on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge William Gallo. The defendant is scheduled to appear for a detention hearing on Friday, September 15 at 9:45 a.m. before Judge Gallo.

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