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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release [print-friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2008
DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977

10 Major Drug Defendants Extradicted from Mexico to the United States

DEC 31 -- WASHINGTON – Today, the Mexican government extradited 10 major drug defendants to face trial in the United States. Those defendants, whose charges are listed separately below, are accused of being associated with some of the most notorious Mexican drug trafficking organizations, including the Gulf Cartel, the Arellano Felix Organization and the Sinaloa Cartel. The defendants arrived today in Texas and will stand trial in the Southern District of Texas, the Southern District of California, the Central District of California and the Northern District of Georgia.

In announcing the extraditions, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said, “The courageous action of the Mexican government in extraditing these 10 defendants – each of whom is accused of major drug offenses or other serious federal felonies – shows the unrelenting commitment of Mexican President Calderon to break the power of the Mexican drug cartels. We stand with him, with Mexican Attorney General Medina Mora, and with all our Mexican law enforcement colleagues, in this fight. Today’s extraditions demonstrate that the cartels cannot operate with impunity, and that Mexico and the United States will work together ceaselessly to defeat them.”

The extradition of these 10 defendants brings the total number of extraditions from Mexico to the United States to 95 for 2008, the highest yearly number of extraditions from Mexico to date, surpassing last year’s record number of 83.

DEA Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart stated, “Extradition is one of the most powerful weapons we have to battle drug cartels. The cartels fear not only the U.S. justice system, but the strength of our partnership with President Calderon and the Mexican government in this fight.”

The extradited defendants, and the charges they face, are listed below:

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

1) Ruben Saucedo Rivera, a Mexican citizen, is an allegedmember of the Osiel Cardenas Guillen Gulf Cartel drug trafficking organization. He was charged by superseding indictment on April 9, 2002, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine and marijuana; conspiracy to import cocaine and marijuana; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; and conspiracy to launder money. He is alleged to be the leader of a drug distribution cell of the Gulf Cartel that imported at least 250 kilograms of cocaine and 1,500 pounds of marijuana from Mexico to the United States from 1998 to 2002.

 2) Juan Carlos De La Cruz Reyna, a Mexican citizen, is an alleged member of the Osiel Cardenas Guillen Gulf Cartel drug trafficking organization. He was charged by superseding indictment on April 9, 2002, with two counts of threatening to assault and murder federal agents. Those charges were based on allegations that De La Cruz Reyna, Cardenas Guillen and others threatened a DEA agent and an FBI agent with firearms in Matamoros, Mexico, in November 1999.

NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA

3) Jose Manuel Barrientos, a Mexican citizen, is alleged to be a leader of a distribution cell in the Atlanta area. Barrientos was charged by indictment on June 26, 2001, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; and assault of a federal agent. According to the indictment, in June 2001, DEA agents seized a 250 kilogram shipment of cocaine near Atlanta from a van. Prior to the discovery of the cocaine in the van, Barrientos allegedly rammed the car of a DEA agent in an effort to prevent the agents from stopping the van.

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

 4) Armando Martinez Duarte , a Mexican citizen, is a former Procuraduria General de la Republica (Mexican attorney general’s office) official who was the alleged chief of security for the Arellano Felix Organization. He was charged by a seventh superseding indictment on Dec. 4, 2003, with substantive racketeering based on drug and money laundering crimes; conspiracy to commit racketeering; and other drug trafficking and money laundering crimes. He allegedly protected the Arellano Felix Organization's activities from interference by Mexican law enforcement, and is alleged to have “policed” the Mexicali area by kidnapping, torturing and murdering the organization's enemies.

5) Jesus “Chuy” Labra Aviles, a Mexican citizen, was charged by a seventh superseding indictment on Dec. 4, 2003, with substantive racketeering based on drug and money laundering crimes; conspiracy to commit racketeering; and other drug trafficking and money laundering crimes. He is an alleged member of the Arellano Felix Organization and was allegedly responsible for shipping thousands of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana from Mexico to the United States from 1986 to 2001.

6) Efrain Perez Arciniega, a Mexican citizen, was charged by a seventh superseding indictment on Dec. 4, 2003, with substantive racketeering based on drug and money laundering crimes; conspiracy to commit racketeering; and other drug trafficking and money laundering crimes. He is alleged to be a lieutenant in the Arellano Felix Organization, responsible for handling logistics relating to the receipt of large cocaine and marijuana shipments.

7) Jorge Aureliano Felix, a Mexican citizen, was charged by a seventh superseding indictment on Dec. 4, 2003, with substantive racketeering based on drug and money laundering crimes; conspiracy to commit racketeering; and other drug trafficking and money laundering crimes. He is a former Mexican state judicial police officer who allegedly acted as a top lieutenant for the Arellano Felix Organization. He was allegedly responsible for safeguarding the storage of drugs and for taking delivery and keeping account of drug proceeds.

8) Fidel Chan Amador, a Mexican citizen, was charged by a third superseding indictment filed on Sept. 26, 2000, with marijuana distribution and importation conspiracies. He is alleged to be a large scale broker of marijuana, responsible for the importation of approximately 11,500 pounds of marijuana seized in the United States between 1996 and 1999, and for approximately eight tons of marijuana destined for the United States but seized by Mexican authorities.

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

9) Juan Diego Espinosa, a Colombian citizen, is an alleged member of the Sinaloa cartel along with Sandra Avila Beltran, a.k.a. “The Queen of the Pacific.” He was charged by superseding indictment on June 7, 2002, with conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; distributing cocaine knowing it would be imported into the U.S.; and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine on board a vessel subject to U.S. jurisdiction. He was allegedly involved in coordinating large shipments of cocaine from Colombia through Mexico to the U.S. in 2001. In November 2001, Espinosa, Beltran and others allegedly arranged the shipment of cocaine from Colombia to the United States by ship. The ship was boarded by U.S. agents near Mexico with permission of Mexico, and the agents seized 9,291 kilograms of cocaine.

CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (with the Los AngelesCounty Office of the District of Attorney)

10) Luis Octavio Arellano Enciso, a Mexican citizen, was charged by indictment on July 6, 2001, with conspiracy to import cocaine and marijuana, and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Arellano and his organization allegedly discussed selling cocaine and marijuana to an undercover officer, which led to the delivery of 1,400 pounds of marijuana in July 2000 by Arellano and his organization. In 1994, Arellano allegedly sold one kilogram of cocaine to a cooperating individual. A subsequent search of Arellano’s home led to the discovery of more cocaine, $436,000 and weapons. In March 1995, Arellano failed to appear for sentencing in state court in Los Angeles following his guilty plea in another matter, and was sentenced to 36 years in prison.

 

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