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Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Leaders of Lorenzana Drug Trafficking Organization Convicted on International Narcotics Trafficking Charges

Eliu Elixander Lorenzana-Cordon and Waldemar Lorenzana-Cordon, leaders of a Guatemala-based  international drug trafficking organization responsible for importing multi-ton quantities of cocaine into the United States, were convicted on international narcotics trafficking charges in the District of Columbia following a four-week trial.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced the conviction.

“For well over a decade, the defendants led a major Central American drug trafficking organization responsible for importing tons of cocaine into the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “This verdict sends a powerful message that the United States and its partners will pursue and obtain justice against international drug traffickers.”

“Eliu and Waldemar Lorenzana-Cordon’s crimes have destroyed families and communities,” said Acting Deputy Administrator Riley.  “Their organization fed a pipeline of drugs ultimately sold on American streets, fostering violence and drug addiction.  Their conviction marks the end of their criminal reign and the beginning of their life behind bars.”

Eliu, 43, and Waldemar, 49, were each convicted on one count of conspiring to unlawfully import and distribute cocaine into the United States.  The defendants were arrested in Guatemala after their indictment on this conspiracy charge and then extradited to the United States.

According to evidence presented at trial, the Lorenzana-Cordons were leaders of an international drug trafficking organization with close ties to the Sinaloa Cartel.  Evidence at trial demonstrated that between 1996 and 2009, the defendants and their co-conspirators received, stored and distributed multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Colombia at their properties in Zacapa, Guatemala, for importation into Mexico and then ultimately into the United States. 

On April 27, 2010, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control designated both defendants as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act due to their significant roles in international narcotics trafficking and their ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, according to evidence presented at trial.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s 959/Bilateral Investigations Unit and Guatemala City Country Office led the investigation, which was part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.  Trial Attorneys Michael Lang, Stephen Sola and Emily Cohen of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section are prosecuting the case.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance.  The Chicago Police Department and the governments of El Salvador and Panama provided support and assistance in this prosecution.  The Justice Department in particular wishes to convey its gratitude to the government of Guatemala for its steadfast commitment, collaboration and assistance in the investigation, extradition and prosecution of this case.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
16-335
Updated March 23, 2016