MONEY COURIER FOR LARGE GUATEMALAN DRUG RING SENTENCED TO OVER 13 YEARS IN PRISON
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. sentenced Nery Gustavo Ramos-Duarte, age 52, of Chiquimula, Guatemala, today to 160 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute and import five kilograms or more of cocaine, commit money laundering, and smuggle bulk cash.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; and Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to evidence presented at the five day trial, Duarte was a money courier for a large international organization that imported cocaine into the United States from Guatemala and smuggled the proceeds back to Guatemala. Duarte was a trusted member of the organization who could speak directly with its leader in Guatemala, and helped the leader collect drug debts.
On September 25, 2003, Duarte was stopped while driving in Arkansas. Law enforcement seized $1,168,000 in cash wrapped in bundles from a secret compartment in his vehicle.
In 2005, Duarte picked up drug money from a co-conspirator in Connecticut to take to the ringleader in Guatemala. Later in 2005, Duarte took a Mercedes-Benz from another member of the conspiracy as payment for a drug debt to the ringleader.
Trial testimony showed that Duarte was responsible for the distribution of over 150 kilograms of cocaine in the course of the conspiracy.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the IRS-CI, DEA, and FBI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Peter M. Nothstein, Andrea L. Smith, and Bonnie S. Greenberg, who prosecuted case.