News and Press Releases

Salvadoran Arms Dealer Who Supported FARC Sentenced to 31 Years in Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Hector Antonio Martinez-Guillen, 32, of San Salvador, El Salvador, was sentenced today to 372 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for attempting to provide material support to the FARC, a designated foreign terrorist organization, and using and carrying a destructive device during a crime of violence. 

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Derek Maltz, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s Special Operations Division, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge James C. Cacheris. Martinez-Guillen pleaded guilty on May 11, 2011.

            “Hector Antonio Martinez-Guillen was convicted for working as an arm dealer trying to supply a foreign terrorist organization with military-grade weapons intended to kill American military personnel in Colombia,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride.  “He will now spend decades in prison for his crimes.  Today’s sentence sends a strong message to those who would support terrorist groups that seek to harm United States citizens and interests worldwide. Our office is committed to finding and prosecuting those who provide weapons to terrorist groups, no matter where they are.”

“This is yet another example of the dangerous marriage of convenience that drug trafficking and terror networks share,” SAC Maltz said.  “DEA often uncovers new and disturbing trends in our drug investigations that lead to organizations such as FARC, Hezbollah and al-Qaeda.  It is clear that much of FARC revenue comes from direct drug trafficking proceeds that are used train forces, buy weapons, and carry operations that seek to harm innocent Americans.  DEA is attacking these dangerous narco-terrorist organizations at every level.”

According to court documents, Martinez-Guillen sold several automatic rifles, plastic explosives, detonators, and other explosives to an individual whom he believed to be a member of the FARC, a Colombian paramilitary group that has been a Designated Terrorist Organization since 1997.  The defendant believed that these weapons and explosives were to be used by the FARC in Colombia to eradicate Americans from Colombia, dead or alive.      

            This case was investigated by the DEA’s Special Operations Division and San Salvador Country Office, with the assistance of the Salvadoran National Police and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.  Assistant United States Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary and Lynn Haaland of the Office’s National Security and International Crime Unit are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

 

 

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