Alleged Guatemalan narco-trafficker Byron Linares Cordón extradited to U.S.
By Dialogo September 26, 2014
Cooperation between Guatemalan and U.S. authorities is proving to be an effective tactic in the fight against international drug trafficking.
For the third time since March, Guatemala has extradited a drug trafficking suspect to the United States: Byron Linares Cordón, who was delivered into U.S. custody September 23. There, federal prosecutors in the District of Colombia have charged Linares Cordón with trafficking massive amounts of cocaine into the United States. And federal prosecutors in Florida have charged him with conspiracy to import drugs into the country. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency places him as second in command under Otto Herrera García - another narco-trafficker who, in 2008, was extradited from Guatemala to the U.S..
In the spring, prior to Linares Cordón’s departure from Guatemala, the country extradited two other alleged major drug traffickers to the United States: Juan Alberto Ortíz-López – also known as “Chamale” and “Juanito” - and Waldemar Lorenzana Lima.
Lorenzana Lima, also known as “The Patriarch,” was captured in April 2011 by Public Ministry anti-narcotics agents and National Civil Police (PNC) agents. The arrest came after an extradition request from the United States. The Patriarch filed multiple motions to avoid delivery to the U.S., but a Guatemalan appeals court denied the last in July 2013.
The Patriarch conspired with the Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexican transnational criminal organization, to traffic large amounts of drugs. He pleaded guilty in the U.S. to conspiring cocaine to the United States. No sentencing date has been sent.
“For years, members of the Lorenzana family smuggled cocaine to the United States with impunity,” Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Patterson said after The Patriarch’ guilty plea.
Meanwhile, two of The Patriarch’s children – also alleged members of his drug trafficking organization – have been captured by Guatemalan security forces and are awaiting extradition to the U.S. A third remains at large.
The other suspect recently extradited to the U.S., Chamale, faces a possible sentence of life in prison if he is convicted of drug trafficking charges in Florida.
Guatemalan soldiers and police captured Chamale at his home in the city of Quetzaltenango on March 30, 2011. At the time, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration alleged that Chamale led one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in Guatemala. His organization allegedly transported multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Guatemala through Mexico and into the U.S., according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
U.S. federal prosecutors have charged Chamale with “conspiring with other persons, to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine” as well as “knowing and intending that such substance would be unlawfully imported into the United States,” according to an FBI press release.
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