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Press Release

Former Leader of Honduran Cocaine Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 37 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The former leader of a large-scale Honduran drug trafficking organization was sentenced today to 37 years in prison for trafficking thousands of kilograms of cocaine bound for the United States.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia and Special Agent in Charge Jesse R. Fong of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division, made the announcement.

Noe Montes-Bobadilla, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady for the Eastern District of Virginia.  According to court documents, Montes-Bobadilla, was the leader of the Montes-Bobadilla drug-trafficking organization, or “Los Montes,” one of the largest drug cartels in Honduras.  Los Montes dominated the drug-trafficking activity in the area of Francia, Honduras, in the Department of Colón.  At that location and in the neighboring La Mosquitia region, Montes-Bobadilla’s organization and associates received shipments of cocaine sent via boats, clandestine aircraft, and even submarines by Colombian suppliers.  Each shipment generally carried hundreds of, if not more than a thousand, kilograms of cocaine.  Montes-Bobadilla worked closely with other drug-trafficking organizations, such as Los Valles and Los Cachiros, to import the cocaine in Honduras and transport it north through Central America and Mexico to its ultimate destination, the United States.  To protect his cocaine-trafficking operations, Montes-Bobadilla bribed law enforcement officers and officials, and engaged in numerous acts of violence, including murder. Through these efforts, Montes-Bobadilla and his organization distributed thousands of kilograms of cocaine destined for the United States.

“Montes-Bobadilla was a violent leader of one of the largest drug-trafficking organizations in Honduras,” said U.S. Attorney Terwilliger.  “The resources and collaborative efforts used to investigate this massive drug trafficking organization is a prime example of the extraordinary investigative capabilities of federal law enforcement and prosecutors here in the Eastern District. My sincere thanks to the DEA and the prosecution team for their outstanding work on this high-impact, international drug trafficking organization - also known as a DTO.”

“This is a prime example of how federal and state agencies can work together to make a major impact on a local, state, national and inter-national scale, said Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent In Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division. “DEA would like to give special thanks to the Virginia State Police for their tireless contribution in bringing Noe Montes-Bobadilla and his organization to justice.”

The case was investigated by the DEA as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Harpoon through DEA’s HIDTA Task Force in Annandale, Virginia.  The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

Assistance in the investigation and prosecution was provided by the Virginia State Police, FBI’s Washington Field Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of New York, the Middle District of Florida, and the Southern District of Florida. Assistance was also provided by the Honduran National Police.  

Trial Attorney Anthony T. Aminoff of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas W. Traxler and James L. Trump of the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case.

Updated April 5, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 19-329