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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 25, 2019

Honduran Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

RICHMOND, Va. – A Honduran man was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for his leadership role in the Los Cachrios drug trafficking organization (DTO), a large-scale Honduran cocaine trafficking group.

According to court documents, Willian Medina-Escobar, 34, conspired to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of cocaine on United States registered aircraft from 2011 to 2014. Medina-Escobar, who was extradited to the United States in September 2017, served in a managerial role for the Los Cachiros DTO. In this role, Medina-Escobar inspected aircraft, organized the transport of cocaine, identified clandestine airstrips, negotiated the purchase of cocaine with sources of supply, and coordinated the landing of cocaine-laden aircraft.

In July 2013, the Los Cachiros DTO purchased a Beechcraft King Air C-90 (King Air C-90) aircraft with United States registered tail number N92XXXX to transport cocaine from Venezuela to Honduras. In the summer of 2013, Medina-Escobar negotiated the purchase of 1,025 kilograms of cocaine from a Colombia source of supply on behalf of the Los Cachiros DTO.  In October 2013, the King Air C-90 flew from Guatemala to Venezuela to load and transport the cocaine shipment.  On October 27, 2013, the King Air C-90 departed from Apure, Venezuela and transported 1,025 kilograms of cocaine to a clandestine airstrip near Limon, Honduras. As part of this operation, Medina-Escobar was present on the clandestine airstrip, communicated with the pilots via radio, and assisted in the safe landing of the aircraft. Upon the King Air C-90’s arrival in Honduras, the 1,025 kilograms of cocaine were off-loaded and placed into the custody of the Los Cachiros DTO for further redistribution and sale.

Operation Strong Moon was investigated as part of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (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.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Colonel David R. Hines, Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erik S. Siebert and Peter S. Duffey prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:16-cr-91.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated February 25, 2019