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Press Release

Alfredo Beltran Leyva Pleads Guilty to International Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Charges

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced today that Alfredo Beltran Leyva, also known as Mochomo, one of the leaders of the Beltran Leyva Organization, a Mexican drug-trafficking cartel responsible for importing multi-ton quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States, pleaded guilty to participating in an international narcotics trafficking conspiracy. 

Assistant Director Joseph S. Campbell of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) joined the Attorney General in making the announcement.

“For decades, Alfredo Beltran Leyva helped to lead one of the world’s most notorious drug cartels, causing widespread violence and disrupting lives,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “With this guilty plea, justice has been done, and Beltran Leyva will be held accountable for his crimes.  This conviction is the result of our close partnership with the Mexican government, and it should serve as a reminder that our countries will not rest in the fight against drug trafficking and violent crime.”

“This plea is the result of the unwavering commitment to aggressively investigate the leaders of transnational criminal organizations throughout world,” said Assistant Director Campbell.  “The significant and constant cooperation between our domestic and international law enforcement partners aided significantly in this successful outcome.”

Alfredo Beltran Leyva and his criminal network destroyed families and communities,” said Acting Administrator Rosenberg.  “He oversaw a violent organization responsible for pushing dangerous drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine onto the streets of America and his guilty plea marks the end of his criminal reign and the beginning of his life behind bars.”

“Today’s guilty plea sends the strongest possible message to drug traffickers,” said Executive Associate Director Edge.  “HSI and our law enforcement partners, both in the United States and around the world, will continue to work tirelessly to disrupt and dismantle international drug trafficking organizations and bring them to justice.”

Leyva, 45, was indicted on Aug. 24, 2012, for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine for importation into the United States.  The defendant was extradited from Mexico to the United States on Nov. 15, 2014, and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon of the District of Columbia.

In court, the defendant admitted that he was part of a conspiracy to import large quantities of drugs into the United States.  At the hearing, the government proffered evidence that from 1990 until his arrest in January 2008, the defendant was a leader of the Beltran Leyva Organization, a global criminal enterprise that was responsible for importing multi-ton quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States.  Beltran Leyva admitted that he and his organization obtained tonnage quantities of cocaine from South American suppliers, which the defendant and his organization helped finance and which were transported to Mexico via air, land and sea.  Once the cocaine reached Mexico, the defendant’s organization transported it to central key points in Mexico, including to Culiacan, Sinaloa, which was also the central point for the collection of billions of dollars from drug trafficking proceeds in the United States.  Additionally, the government’s evidence would have shown that the organization carried out acts of violence, including murders, kidnappings, tortures and violent collections of drug debts, in order to sustain the drug importation operation.  Further, the government’s evidence would have shown that the organization made payments to public officials to ensure that the organization’s drug shipments passed through Mexico uninhibited. 

On May 30, 2008, the president added the Beltran Leyva Organization to the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.  On Aug. 20, 2009, the president specifically designated Beltran Leyva as a specially designated drug trafficker under the same Kingpin Act.

The FBI’s El Paso Office led the investigation in partnership with the DEA’s New York Field Division and HSI’s New York Office as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.  Deputy Chief Andrea Goldbarg, Assistant Deputy Chief Amanda Liskamm and Trial Attorney Adrian Rosales of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia M. Henry of the Eastern District of New York are prosecuting the case.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices of the Eastern District of New York, the Southern District of Florida, the Southern District of Texas, the Northern District of Georgia and the Northern District of Illinois provided substantial assistance.  The Justice Department thanks the government of Mexico for their assistance in this matter.

Updated February 23, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 16-203