Former Mexican State Attorney General Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Participation in International Narcotics Distribution Conspiracy
Edgar Veytia Used His Position as a High-Level Law Enforcement Official to Facilitate Drug Trafficking into the United States by a Violent Mexican Drug Cartel
Edgar Veytia, a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, and the former State Attorney General for the State of Nayarit, Mexico, was sentenced today to 20 years’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $1 million in forfeiture following his guilty plea to participating in an international heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana manufacturing and distribution conspiracy responsible for importing illegal drugs from Mexico to the United States. The sentencing was held before United States District Judge Carol Bagley Amon in federal court in Brooklyn
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; William D. Bodner, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Los Angeles Division (DEA); Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office (FBI); and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York Field Office (HSI), announced the sentence.
“When Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán was sentenced to life imprisonment, we warned that there were more days of reckoning to come. The sentence imposed on this corrupt Mexican government official makes this just such a day,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Neither Mexican cartel leaders nor corrupt officials who assist them should sleep well tonight. We are coming for you.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the DEA New York Field Office for its assistance on the case.
“Today’s sentencing of Mr. Veytia shows DEA’s strong commitment to the rule of law and collaboration with other Government agencies,” said DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Bodner. “Our agents will continue to be relentless in the worldwide pursuit of drug traffickers and the corrupt government officials who protect them.”
“Veytia abused his position in the government and protected drug traffickers who brought dangerous drugs through his country to the U.S. on behalf of a violent Mexican drug cartel," stated FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Dunham. “The FBI stands for fair and honest law enforcement and will continue to investigate any individual who places greed over the rule of law and commits such crimes that bring harmful drugs and corruption to our communities.”
“Working with the cartel, Veytia used Mexican law enforcement to protect drug loads, intimidate and harm rival drug traffickers. He also used his role as Attorney General to obstruct justice when cartel members were arrested,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Fitzhugh. “Law enforcement partnerships in investigating this case is what brought this individual who used his position of power for criminal gains to now face justice for his actions.”
U.S. law enforcement has been investigating the H-2 Cartel, a violent Mexican drug trafficking organization based in Nayarit and Sinaloa, Mexico, that was previously led by Juan Francisco Patron Sanchez. The H-2 Cartel had numerous distribution cells in the United States, including in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Ohio, Minnesota, North Carolina and New York. The DEA estimates that between January 2013 and February 2017, the H-2 Cartel distributed on a monthly basis approximately 500 kilograms of heroin, 100 kilograms of cocaine, 200 kilograms of methamphetamine and 3,000 kilograms of marijuana into the United States and earned millions of dollars in illegal proceeds. In furtherance of its drug trafficking operation, the H-2 Cartel used firearms and physical violence, including torture and dozens of homicides.
Veytia used his position as the top law enforcement officer in the State of Nayarit to assist and sanction the cartel’s operations in Mexico, in exchange for bribes on a monthly basis. Vetyia also directed other corrupt Mexican law enforcement officers under his supervision to assist the H-2 Cartel, released members and associates of the cartel from prison after they had been arrested for drug trafficking-related crimes, instructed corrupt Mexican law enforcement officers to target rival drug traffickers for wiretaps and arrests and assisted the H-2 Cartel in carrying out murders and other acts of violence. In addition, Veytia assisted the H-2 Cartel in covering up the murder of a rival drug trafficker in October 2015.
The case was investigated by the DEA, FBI and HSI as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF). 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.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section and the Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section of the Department of Justice. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael P. Robotti, Craig R. Heeren and Ryan C. Harris of the Eastern District of New York are prosecuting the case, together with Trial Attorneys Jason Ruiz and Anthony Aminoff of the Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section.
EDNY Docket No. 17-CR-115 (CBA)