MANHATTAN U.S. ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES ARREST OF GUATEMALAN DRUG TRAFFICKER LINKED TO LOS ZETAS CARTEL
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday April 3, 2012
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Wilbert L. Plummer, the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), today announced charges against Guatemalan drug trafficker HORST WALTHER OVERDICK-MEJIA for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and possessing firearms in furtherance of his narcotics importation activities. OVERDICK-MEJIA was arrested today in Guatemala, where he was detained pending extradition to the United States. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “With today’s arrest of Horst Walther Overdick-Mejia, an allegedly prolific drug-trafficker is out of business, and a significant blow has been dealt to one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels. Today’s arrest is the latest example of how international law enforcement cooperation can be employed to stem the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States.”
Acting DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Wilbert L. Plummer said: “When the handcuffs were placed on Overdick-Mejia’s hands – the first step was taken to ensuring that justice is served and that he faces the consequences of his illegal actions of inundating the streets of America with tons of illicit narcotics. This marks law enforcement's dedication worldwide to identify and bring to justice those who profit millions off narco dollars with no conscious of how many lives drugs have destroyed.”
The following allegations are based on the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan
federal court and other information in the public record in Guatemala:
OVERDICK-MEJIA is a major Guatemalan drug trafficker currently aligned with Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s most violent and increasingly powerful drug cartels. Los Zetas imports cocaine through Guatemala and other countries in Central America into Mexico, and then transports it to the United States.
Since 1999, OVERDICK-MEJIA has facilitated the importation of cocaine into Guatemala by securing airstrips in the country for planes carrying hundreds of kilograms to land. In 2002, OVERDICK-MEJIA was responsible for the arrival of a 1,200-kilogram cocaine shipment at an airstrip in Guatemala, which he and his associates then transported into Mexico using hidden compartments in trucks. OVERDICK-MEJIA then began to purchase cocaine and transport it from Guatemala to Los Zetas in Mexico.
During this investigation, Guatemalan law enforcement officers recovered videos of OVERDICK-MEJIA with prominent members of LosZetas in Guatemala at a “narcofiesta,” a large party they hosted in Guatemala, and at a horse race. Guatemalan officers also recovered a drug ledger detailing the movement of guns, narcotics, and deliveries of money to OVERDICK-MEJIA.
* * *
OVERDICK-MEJIA, 44, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, knowing and intending that the cocaine would be imported into the United States, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. He is also charged with one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. This count carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed.
Mr. Bharara praised the work of the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, which is comprised of agents and officers of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York City Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the New York State Police, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the United States Marshal Service, and the United States Attorney’s Office. He also thanked the Republic of Guatemala, the DEA Guatemala Country Office, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs, and the U.S. State Department for their assistance in this case.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael M. Rosensaft and Shane T. Stansbury 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.