MARCH 05 (BOSTON) - John J. Arvanitis, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for New England and United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced today that a man from Colombia, charged in an international cocaine conspiracy in 2010, made his initial appearance in federal court today after he was ordered to be extradited to the United States from Colombia.
Roberto Mendez-Hurtado, 49, was originally charged in 2010 with conspiracy to import and distribute and manufacture five kilograms or more of cocaine for unlawful importation to the United States.
According to the indictment, Mendez-Hurtado conspired between June 2008 and April 2010 to import from Columbia and Venezuela at least five kilograms of cocaine. Mendez-Hurtado is alleged to have manufactured and distributed at least five kilograms of cocaine knowingly and with intent that such substance would be unlawfully imported into the United States.
Pursuant to a request for extradition from the U.S. government, in August 2011, law enforcement authorities arrested him in Colombia. In February 2012, the Supreme Court from Colombia ordered his extradition to U.S. District Court in Boston to face charges.
The maximum sentence under the statute is life in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $4 million. Mendez-Hurtado also faces similar charges in the Southern District of Florida and the District of Puerto Rico.
The case was investigated by the DEA's New England Field Division with assistance from DEA's Bogota Country Office, the Colombian National Police, and Dutch law enforcement authorities in Aruba from Recherche Samenwerkings Team (RST). The United States Marshals Service provided assistance with the apprehension of Mendez-Hurtado.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil J. Gallagher, Jr. of Ortiz's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit.The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.