Canada Extradites Drug Trafficking Defendant To Colorado For Prosecution
DENVER – Hector Armondo Chavez, age 28, who was until today in Canada, was extradited from Canada to Denver, Colorado so he can face drug trafficking charges, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Barbra Roach announced. Chavez was indicted, along with six others, in 2010 for the importation of cocaine from Mexico. The cocaine was brought to Colorado, where it was then later sent to Canada. The defendant is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer, located on the 4th Floor of the Arraj Federal Courthouse, 901 19th Street.
According to the indictment, Chavez, along with others, conspired to import into the United States from Mexico, and then export from the United States into Canada, cocaine, a Schedule II Controlled Substance. The defendant also faces two counts of using a telephone to facilitate the commission of a drug trafficking felony. If convicted of conspiracy, Chavez faces not less than 10 years, and up to life in federal prison, as well as up to a $4,000,000 fine. If convicted of using a telephone for drug trafficking, Chavez faces not more than 4 years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine, per count, for each of the two counts.
The investigation dates back to when a co-defendant, Calvin Wayne Skidmore, was arrested in 2010 at the Del Bonita Port of Entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. A search of his vehicle yielded 46 packages of cocaine, equating to 16.5 kilograms, concealed in hidden compartments.
In addition to Chavez, two others named in the indictment remain fugitives. Defendant Javier Batista Cervantes is a Mexican National living in Canada and is pending extradition. Defendant Hernandez-Renteria is deceased. Dionisio Salgado, a U.S. citizen, pled guilty in a related case in federal court in Colorado and was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison. Canadian citizen Calvin Wayne Skidmore pled guilty in a related case in the District of Montana and was also sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“When you face federal drug trafficking charges, you can run to another country, but you can’t hide there forever,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “U.S. law enforcement, working with our international partners, can locate a defendant, as was the case with Defendant Chavez, and file extradition papers, which ultimately results in the person returning to the U.S. to resolve the indictment.”
“The extradition of Hector Armondo Chavez to the United States is an example of a commitment to international cooperation,” said DEA Denver Special Agent in Charge Barbra Roach. “The Drug Enforcement Administration thanks the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT), Lethbridge Regional Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for their assistance in this extradition.”
This case was investigated by the DEA. The Lethbridge Regional Police Service, a part of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams in Canada as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police assisted U.S. government authorities. The U.S. Marshals Service assisted in the transportation of Chavez from Canada to Colorado. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance in this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Korver of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Colorado.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.