Alfredo Beltran Leyva Sentenced to Life in Prison for Leading an International Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
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, was sentenced today to life in prison for his participation in an international narcotics trafficking conspiracy.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assitant Director Stephen E. Richardson of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New York Division and Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) made the announcement.
“For well over a decade, the defendant commanded a major Mexican drug trafficking organization that imported ton-quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States and led a campaign of violence and fear that gripped communities across North America,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco. “Through close cooperation with our foreign counterparts, the United States brought this international drug-trafficker to justice, significantly disrupted the flow of narcotics into the United States and stemmed the tide of destruction wrought by this violent cartel.”
“Alfredo Beltran Leyva spent decades at the head of a criminal organization responsible for trafficking large amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine into the U.S.,” said Assistant Director Richardson. “Today’s sentencing marks an end to Alfredo Beltran Leyva's reign of terror, and demonstrates that the FBI and our law enforcement partners around the globe will aggressively pursue and bring justice to those individuals who use violence and intimidation to threaten our communities.”
“Alfredo Beltran Leyva is one of the ‘Goliaths’ of Mexican drug traffickers known for his savage business tactics and responsible for flooding the United States with illegal drugs,” said Special Agent in Charge Hunt. “This sentencing exemplifies law enforcement’s commitment to bringing justice to the victims of drug abuse through successful prosecutions of the highest echelon of drug traffickers.”
“Today’s sentencing dealt a major blow to the Beltran Leyva Organization by taking out one of its leaders. It is with tireless joint enforcement efforts like this one that we can remove drugs from America’s streets and make our communities that much safer,” said HSI Executive Associate Director Edge. “HSI and our law enforcement partners, both in the United States and around the world, will not waver in our resolve to dismantle and cripple violent drug organizations, and remove their leadership.”
Beltran Leyva, 46, 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 on Feb. 23, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon of the District of Columbia. Judge Leon imposed today’s sentence and ordered Beltran Leyva to forfeit $529,200,000.
In court, Beltran Leyva admitted that he was part of a conspiracy to import large quantities of drugs into the United States. At his plea hearing and during pre-trial conferences, the government proffered evidence that from the early 1990s until his indictment in August 2014, the defendant was a leader of the Beltran Leyva Organization, a global criminal enterprise 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 key points in Mexico, including Culiacan, Sinaloa, which was also the central point for the collection of billions of dollars from drug trafficking proceeds in the United States. At sentencing, the government’s evidence showed that the organization used weapons and carried out acts of violence, including murders, kidnappings, tortures and violent collections of drug debts, in order to sustain the drug importation operation.
On May 30, 2008, the United States 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 United States specifically designated Beltran Leyva as a specially-designated drug trafficker under the same act.
The FBI’s El Paso, Texas, Division led the investigation in partnership with the DEA’s New York Division and HSI’s Special Agent in Charge, New York office as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Acting Deputy Chief Amanda Liskamm and Trial Attorney Adrian Rosales of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marcia M. Henry and Andrea Goldbarg of the Eastern District of New York prosecuted the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided valuable assistance in the case.