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Justice News

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

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Guatemalan Pseudoephedrine Traffickers Sentenced

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Edgar Leonel Estrada Morales, 58, of Guatemala City, Guatemala, was sentenced today to 168 months in prison for conspiring to distribute pseudoephedrine for unlawful importation into the United States and to aid and abet the manufacture of methamphetamine. 

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Derek S. Maltz, Special Agent In Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Special Operations Division made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District JudgeT.S. Ellis, III. 

            Estrada Morales, along with his nephew, Victor Estrada Paredes, were indicted on February 3, 2011, by a federal grand jury on a charge of conspiracy to distribute pseudoephedrine (a chemical used in the manufacture of methamphetamine) for unlawful importation into the United States and to aid and abet the manufacture of 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.  On July 19, 2013, Judge Ellis sentenced Estrada Paredes to serve 132 months in prison. 

            In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Estrada Morales admitted to selling nearly 5,000 pseudoephedrine pills to an individual whom he believed was involved in a methamphetamine production operation based in Houston, Texas.  This individual was, in reality, a DEA cooperating witness.  Estrada Morales also introduced this individual to his nephew, Estrada Paredes, who were also involved in this pseudoephedrine trafficking operation.  Estrada Paredes entered a guilty plea to the same indictment before Judge Ellis on April 25, 2013.  Estrada Paredes negotiated the sale of equipment used to extract pseudoephedrine from pill form for use in the manufacture of methamphetamine, and discussed working for the DEA cooperator’s fictitious United States-based methamphetamine trafficking organization.  According to the indictment, Estrada Morales sold pseudoephedrine to groups, including the “La Familia” Mexican drug cartel that sold methamphetamine in the United States.

            This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Assistant United States Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary, of the Office’s National Security and International Crime Unit, is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

            A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.
Updated March 18, 2015