NEW YORK – The alleged leader of a Mexican narcotics trafficking organization responsible for trafficking multi-ton quantities of cocaine, Juan Juarez Orosco, aka “El Abuelo,” was extradited to the United States from Panama on Nov. 8, 2013, and arraigned on Nov. 10, 2013, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom in the Eastern District of New York.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the Eastern District of New York, Special Agent in Charge James T. Hayes Jr. of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) and Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New York Division made the announcement.
According to court documents, from the early 1990s until his arrest by Panamanian law enforcement in March 2012, Juarez allegedly led a large-scale maritime and land transportation operation that was responsible for trafficking multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Central America via ship to the coast of Mexico. Once the cocaine arrived in Mexico, Juarez and his co-conspirators would transport the cocaine from the coast to Mexico City, where it was then destined for the United States. Throughout the 2000s, Juarez allegedly worked with major narcotics traffickers based in Colombia and Mexico, including the Norte Valle Cartel, the Beltran-Leyva Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel. Through the mid-2000s, Juarez’s organization allegedly transported at least 35,000 kilograms of cocaine for the Beltran-Leyva organization alone. At the height of its activity, Juarez’s organization allegedly transported approximately eight tons a month in conjunction with the Sinaloa Cartel.
“As alleged in the indictment, Juarez’s trafficking organization was responsible for the importation of massive quantities of cocaine, across oceans and continents, into the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. “Juarez’s arrest and extradition are a testament to the tenacity of law enforcement officers across the world, and show what we can accomplish when we work together with our partners around the globe to capture major drug traffickers and bring them to justice.”
“There is no escape from the reach of the law, no matter where drug kingpins operate their poisonous trade,” said U.S. Attorney Lynch. “Juan Juarez Orosco may have operated an international drug trafficking network that stretched across the Western Hemisphere, but today he faces justice in a courtroom in Brooklyn. Thanks to our law enforcement partners in Panama, today’s extradition also shows that there is no safe haven for drug traffickers on the run.”
Juarez was indicted on March 15, 2012, and charged with international narcotics importation and distribution conspiracy. If convicted, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by ICE HSI and DEA. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Adrian Rosales of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gina M. Parlovecchio and Tiana Demas of the Eastern District of New York, with the assistance of the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.