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Press Release

Foreign National Indicted for International Drug Trafficking

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Mexican national made his initial appearance in the District of Columbia today to face international cocaine and marijuana trafficking charges.   

According to court documents, between 2000 and 2010, Eleazar Medina Rojas, aka Chelelo, 51, was a high-ranking member of the Zetas, an international drug trafficking organization allied with the Gulf Cartel. Together, the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, known collectively as “The Company,” was a violent, transnational drug trafficking organization based in Mexico that was engaged in the manufacture, distribution, and importation of ton quantities of cocaine and marijuana from Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, and elsewhere into the United States. Medina Rojas was also the “plaza boss” for the city of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, controlling the Zeta’s drug trafficking activities in that area.

In May 2013, a grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a fourth superseding indictment against Medina Rojas. In December 2018, Mexican authorities arrested Medina Rojas pursuant to a provisional arrest requested by the United States. Medina Rojas remained detained in Mexico pending his extradition. He was extradited from Mexico to the United States on July 6.

Medina Rojas is charged with one count of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana intending and knowing that those substances would be imported into the United States.  If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. 

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and DEA Administrator Anne Milgram made the announcement.

The DEA Houston Division is investigating the case with assistance from the DEA Mexico City Country Office.

Trial Attorneys Kirk Handrich and Janet Turnbull of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section are prosecuting the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with law enforcement partners in Mexico to secure the arrest and extradition of Medina Rojas. The Office of Enforcement Operations also provided significant assistance.  

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated July 7, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 23-737