HONDURAS EXTRADITES NARCOTICS TRAFFICKER TO FACE FEDERAL DRUG CHARGES IN MIAMI
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, announce the extradition of Mario Ponce Rodriguez from Honduras. Ponce Rodriguez, a Guatemalan national, has been held in custody since his arrest by Honduran authorities in May 1, 2011. He was arraigned in federal court in Miami earlier today. A pre-trial detention hearing is scheduled for December 23, 2011 at 9:00 am.
Ponce Rodriguez is charged in a one-count superseding indictment with conspiring with others to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine knowing that it would be unlawfully imported into the United States. This charge carries a mandatory minimum ten-year sentence and a potential sentence of up to life in prison.
“The indictment and extradition of Ponce Rodriguez is the result of a concerted effort to disrupt and dismantle the Central American supply lines used by Colombian drug organizations to import cocaine into the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer.
“Since international drug traffickers do not see borders, DEA must maintain strong partnerships with its law enforcement counterparts as we do in Colombia and Honduras in order to have successes such as this arrest.” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark Trouville.
The indictment of Ponce Rodriguez is the result of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) led by DEA. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
Mr. Ferrer commends the outstanding investigative efforts of DEA and their Colombian law enforcement partners, as well as the assistance of Honduran law enforcement authorities for their efforts in detaining and extraditing Ponce Rodriguez. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided significant assistance in the matter. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Fels.
An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.