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Press Release

Guatemalan citizens extradited to the United States to face drug trafficking charges in the Eastern District of Texas

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

SHERMAN – Four Guatemalan citizens have been extradited to the United States to face international drug trafficking charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs. 

Jorge Luis Rodriguez, 63; Pedro Pablo Yaser Barrios-Cruz, 49; Melvin Hilario Estrada-Flores, 35; and Magner Lopez-Mejia, 45, were extradited from Guatemala to the United States on May 16, 2024.

According to the information presented in court, the defendants are alleged to have been involved in a Guatemalan-based drug trafficking organization that uses U.S. planes to transport cocaine from Venezuela to Guatemala and then to Mexico for ultimate distribution in the United States.  The defendants’ network distributed multi-ton quantities of cocaine monthly.  On Nov. 9, 2020, the defendants crashed a plane with more than 1000 kilograms of cocaine in Guatemala resulting in a shoot-out with Guatemalan police after the crash.

On June 10, 2021, a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas charged the defendants with multiple crimes, including conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine, intending, knowing, and having reasonable cause to believe it would be unlawfully imported to the United States and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute by person on board an aircraft.

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 Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas, HSI Laredo, and HSI Guatemala Field Offices; Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security; Federal Aviation Administration; and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations. 

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in securing the defendant’s arrest and extradition to the United States.  These individuals are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Rapp.


Updated June 5, 2024

Drug Trafficking