Jury Convicts Honduran Drug Trafficker of Cocaine Conspiracy
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal jury convicted a Honduran man late yesterday of leading a drug trafficking organization that smuggled at least thousands of kilos of cocaine into the United States over the last decade.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Arnulfo Fagot-Maximo, 57, was the leader of a drug trafficking organization based in the La Mosquitia region of the Departamento Gracias a Dios, Honduras. His organization was a critical link between Colombian cocaine suppliers and other major Honduran traffickers. For over a decade, the Fagot-Maximo received cocaine along the Mosquitia coast from Colombia by “go fast” boats, small aircraft, and submersible vessels in quantities ranging from a few hundred to several thousand kilograms per delivery. Most of this cocaine was transferred to the Montes Bobadilla organization in Francia, Honduras, where it was received by other traffickers. Eventually the cocaine was transported by land through Honduras and Guatemala, and then it was delivered to the Mexican cartels for importation into the United States. Fagot-Maximo received tens of millions of dollars in U.S. currency for the sale and delivery of this cocaine.
Arnulfo Fagot-Maximo was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine knowing that the cocaine was to be unlawfully imported into the United States. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison when sentenced on March 29, 2018. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case was investigated by the DEA as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Harpoon through DEA’s HIDTA Task Force in Annandale Virginia. 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, Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, Scott W. Hoernke, Acting Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division, Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Patrick J. Lechleitner, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., and Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted the verdict.
Assistance in the investigation and prosecution was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of New York, the Middle District of Florida, and the Southern District of Florida. Assistance was also provided by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Honduran National Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys James L. Trump, Thomas W. Traxler and DOJ Trial Attorney Anthony Aminoff are prosecuting 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. 1:15-cr-290.