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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Guatemalan Drug Trafficker Sentenced for Using U.S. Registered Aircraft to Transport Thousands of Kilograms of Cocaine

RICHMOND, Va. – Fernando Josue Chang-Monroy, 37, of Guatemala City, Guatemala, was sentenced today to 262 months in prison for his in role in an international drug trafficking conspiracy involving the use of United States registered aircraft purchased in the Eastern District of Virginia to transport 2,000 kilograms of cocaine in Central and South America.

Chang-Monroy pleaded guilty on March 3.  According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Chang-Monroy admitted to his role in the conspiracy to purchase two United States registered aircraft in the Eastern District of Virginia, for the purpose of transporting large amounts of cocaine from clandestine airstrips in Venezuela to clandestine airstrips in Honduras.  Also as part of the conspiracy, Chang-Monroy arranged with the Venezuelan military for the safe passage of the drug trafficking aircraft through Venezuelan air space. 

The first aircraft purchased by Chang-Monroy, a Beechcraft King Air C90 (“King Air C90”), was sold to a known Honduran drug trafficking organization in exchange for a percentage from the sale of the cocaine that was successfully transported on the aircraft and later distributed.  On or about October 27, 2013, the King Air C90 flew to Apure, Venezuela, where 1,000 kilograms of cocaine was loaded onto the aircraft and then successfully transported to Limon, Honduras.  The second aircraft purchased by Chang-Monroy, a Beechcraft King Air E90 (“King Air E90”), was sold to a Colombian drug trafficking organization in exchange for U.S. currency.  In order to prepare the King Air E90 for its illegal activities, Chang-Monroy arranged for multiple test flights to ensure its airworthiness, painted the aircraft to conceal its identity, and selected pilots to operate the aircraft during its trip to transport the cocaine.  On or about March 2, 2014, the King Air E90 flew to Apure, Venezuela, and was loaded with 1,000 kilograms of cocaine.  Prior to departure, upon seeing Venezuelan military aircraft overhead, the King Air E90 pilot refused to take off.  Due to this delay, the cocaine was off-loaded from the King Air E90 and the Venezuelan military aircraft destroyed the King Air E90.  On September 10, 2015, Chang-Monroy was arrested in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and extradited to the United States on December 1, 2015.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Karl C. Colder, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division; Thomas M. Jankowski, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Washington D.C. Field Office; Colonel David R. Hines, Hanover County Sheriff; and Colonel Thierry Dupuis, Chief of Chesterfield County Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erik S. Siebert, Dominick S. Gerace, David J. Harbach, and Peter S. Duffey prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:14-cr-75.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated August 25, 2016