Mexican Kingpin Pleads Guilty to U.S. Drug Charges
Defendant’s Organization Trucked Thousands of Kilograms of Cocaine Across the Texas-Mexico Border
Esteban Rodriguez-Olivera, a Mexican national who was extradited to the Eastern District of New York on Friday, March 11, 2011, pled guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn to charges of conspiring to import narcotics into the United States. According to court documents, Rodriguez-Olivera is one of two brothers who were the leaders of “Los Gueros,” an international drug organization responsible for shipping more than 100 tons of cocaine to the United States. As part of today’s proceeding, Rodriguez-Olivera also pled guilty to federal criminal charges that were originally pending in the District of Columbia.
The guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Brian Crowell, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York, and James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York. The investigation was conducted by DEA offices in New York, Texas, and Guadalajara, Mexico, and ICE/HSI, in New York, with assistance provided by the Internal Revenue Service and law enforcement authorities in Mexico.
In 2007, the United States Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force designated the defendant and his brother, Luis Rodriguez-Olivera, drug kingpins, adding them to the list of the world’s most significant narcotics traffickers and money launderers. Los Gueros’ supply route originated in Mexico, stretched into Texas, and branched off to various points within the United States, including the New York City metropolitan area. The organization received multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia along the Gulf coast of Mexico, and transported drug shipments into the United States through Laredo and McAllen, Texas.
For the period of 1996 to 2008, Los Gueros imported over 100,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States, and the DEA estimates that between 2004 and 2006, the organization was responsible for shipping truckloads containing over 2,000 kilograms (two tons) of cocaine to New York City alone. As part of the investigation, in October 2004, ICE agents seized approximately 156 kilograms of cocaine hidden in one of the organization’s tractor-trailers; in 2005, ICE agents seized approximately $2.1 million in drug proceeds bound for the organization in Mexico; and in January 2006, Mexican authorities seized approximately 5.2 tons of the organization’s cocaine destined for the United States.
Rodriguez-Olivera faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, and forfeiture of $50 million.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Walter M. Norkin.
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