Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces The Extradition From The Dominican Republic Of Its Former Drug Control Operations Chief On Narcotics Trafficking Charges
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and James T. Hayes, Jr., the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced today that FRANCISCO ANTONIO HIRALDO-GUERRERO, a former Dominican military official and former chief of operations for the Dominican National Directorate for Drug Control (the “DNCD”), was extradited from the Dominican Republic on charges of conspiracy to import and distribute hundreds of kilograms of cocaine in the United States. HIRALDO-GUERRERO, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, arrived in the Southern District of New York on April 5, 2013. He was presented in U.S. Magistrate Court on Saturday.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, in a classic case of the ‘fox guarding the hen house,’ Francisco Antonio Hiraldo-Guerrero was a corrupt public official who exploited his position atop the Dominican Republic’s drug control office to facilitate the importation of massive quantities of cocaine into the United States. Corruption comes in many forms as does the harm it causes, and we will continue to fight it wherever we find it.”
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Brian R. Crowell said: “The DNCD is equivalent to the DEA in the Dominican Republic and both law enforcement organizations' focus is on dismantling drug trafficking organizations while seizing illicit drugs and the profit off the sale. Hiraldo-Guerrero allegedly abused his ranking position within the military of the Dominican Republic and betrayed the public trust through his facilitation of drug trafficking. Hiraldo-Guerrero allegedly turned a blind eye to justice, but justice uncovered his alleged charges which brought him to face the consequences of his actions in the United States. The dedicated members of the Strike Force, the DEA Santo Domingo Country Office, and our law enforcement partners within the Dominican Republic worked together to bring him to justice.”
ICE HSI Special Agent-in-Charge James T. Hayes, Jr. said: “Hiraldo-Guerrero allegedly abused his position in the Dominican military and the government's anti-narcotics unit to smuggle tons of cocaine into the United States. In cooperation with U.S. and international law enforcement entities, HSI is a partner in the fight against drug trafficking.”
According to the Indictment unsealed Friday and previously filed in Manhattan federal court:
From 2001 to May 2005, HIRALDO-GUERRERO conspired with others to import and distribute hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from the Dominican Republic to the United States. From 2007 to 2009, HIRALDO-GUERRERO also conspired with others to distribute hundreds of kilograms of cocaine knowing and intending that the cocaine would be imported into the United States.
For example, in September 2003, one of HIRALDO-GUERRERO’s co-conspirators (“CC-1”) sent approximately 300 kilograms of cocaine to New York. In addition, in November 2007, HIRALDO-GUERRERO assisted in the transportation of approximately 600 kilograms of cocaine from Colombia to the Dominican Republic by boat.
HIRALDO-GUERRERO, 53, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and two counts of conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA’s New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, which is comprised of agents and officers of the DEA, the New York City Police Department, ICE HSI, the New York State Police, the U. S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Secret Service, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Mr. Bharara also thanked the DEA’s Santo Domingo Country Office, the Government of the Dominican Republic, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for their ongoing assistance.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christian Everdell and Glen Kopp are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.