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Press Release

Former Guatemalan congressman guilty of international drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas

PLANO, Texas – A former Guatemalan congressman has pleaded guilty to his role in an international drug trafficking conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs of the Eastern District of Texas. 

Jose Armando Ubico Aguilar, 45, a former senior Republic of Guatemala official, pleaded guilty to ­­­­an international drug trafficking conspiracy violation before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson on May 1, 2024.  Ubico Aguilar arrived in the United States from Central America earlier this week and was arrested.

According to information presented in court, Ubico Aguilar served as an elected member of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala from 2016 to 2024.  He also served as an elected Deputy and was the President of the National Defense Committee of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala from 2018 to 2023.

“As a senior leader in the Republic of Guatemala, Ubico Aguilar was entrusted to further the fight against drug traffickers pushing illegal narcotics north to the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs.  “Even more so, as the President of the National Defense Committee of the Congress of Republic of Guatemala, Ubico Aguilar was responsible, in part, for his own country’s national security.  Instead, Ubico Aguilar betrayed his country when he chose to partner with known drug traffickers and other corrupt officials.  We are grateful to our foreign law enforcement partners for ensuring Ubico Aguilar, and those like him, will not be allowed to hide behind their positions of power.”  

“The arrest of this corrupt official who allegedly brokered and facilitated cocaine shipments into the United States shows the swift justice criminals will meet through DEA Dallas’ efforts to dismantle Transnational Criminal Organizations across the world,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez.  “We are proud to collaborate with our DEA offices around the world as well as our international counterparts who collectively share the same goal – enforce the rule of law and ensure consequences come to those who profit from illicit drug distribution in our communities.”

On March 3, 2021, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas indicted Ubico Aguilar charging him with federal drug trafficking violations.  During his plea hearing, Ubico Aguilar admitted his role in the conspiracy, including relaying drug-related information and U.S. currency to another Guatemalan official on behalf of an international drug trafficker.  These actions resulted in the safe passage of at least 450 kilograms of cocaine through Guatemala for distribution in the United States. 

Ubico Aguilar faces from 10 years to life in federal prison at sentencing.  The statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.  A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.  Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

This case is being investigated by the North Texas Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) Strike Force Group Two; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Division; the DEA’s Guatemala City Country Office and the DEA’s San Jose (Costa Rica) Country Office; the FBI’s Dallas Field Office; the Homeland Security Investigation’s Dallas and Guatemala Field Offices; the U.S. Marshals Service’s Dallas Field Office; and Customs and Border Patrol’s San Diego Field Office. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division also provided assistance in furthering the prosecution.    

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Eason.


Updated May 1, 2024

Drug Trafficking