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Drug kingpins convicted on trafficking charges

The leaders of a major Guatemalan drug trafficking organization were convicted in federal court. They were arrested in Guatemala pursuant to a U.S. warrant that charged each of them with one count of conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States. This is interesting because these individuals were convicted for their actions in another country based on the effect that it had in the United States. Convicting people based on international crimes is an evolving area of law that could have huge implications for other crime organizations.

These two particular leaders were close associates with the Sinaloa Cartel and were responsible for multiple multi-ton shipments of cocaine into the United States. The U.S. Attorney presented evidence from 1996 to 2009, which displayed a consistent pattern of drug trafficking activities. Specifically that they and their conspirators, stored, received and distributed cocaine from Columbia. They then stored it in their Guatemalan facilities before shipping it off to Mexico and eventually the United States.

These two individuals acted as middle men in the drug business, connecting Columbian cocaine producers with Mexican and American gang distributors. The Guatemalan authorities arrested these two individuals on behalf of the U.S. and then extradited them. This case illustrates that crime, even crime committed abroad, can still be read by the Justice Department.

If you are charged with a drug related crime, then you may want to speak to an attorney. Generally speaking, your case will likely be a state court matter. However, it is possible you could be placed in federal court. In either situation, an attorney is a good person to have on your side.

Source: Department of Justice, "Leaders of Lorenzana Drug Trafficking Organization Convicted on International Narcotics Trafficking Charges," Office of Public Affairs, Mar. 23, 2016

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