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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

International Fugitive/Cuban National Extradited From Italy To Face Drug And Gun Charges

Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the unsealing of a 2017 indictment charging Nelson Pablo Yester-Garrido (62, Cuba) with conspiracy to distribute large amounts of high-grade marijuana and possessing a firearm in furtherance of that conspiracy. If convicted on all counts, Yester-Garrido faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. 

According to court documents, from the late 1980s through early 1997, Yester-Garrido was part of a group involved in importing kilogram amounts of cocaine and other narcotics into the United States, including by negotiating the purchase of a Russian diesel submarine for Colombian drug suppliers. According to law enforcement, around 1997, Yester-Garrido fled to South Africa to escape prosecution related to charges filed in the Southern District of Florida (which have since been dismissed). 

In January 2015, the DEA began investigating Yester-Garrido and several other Florida-based individuals who were distributing large amounts of high-grade marijuana to individuals and groups in central Florida. In January 2017, an indictment was returned in the Middle District of Florida charging three of Yester-Garrido’s co-conspirators (Juan Almeida, Andrew Cassara, and Wade Jones, Jr.) with conspiracy to distribute marijuana. In 2018, Almeida, Cassara, and Jones were sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment.

In October 2017, a grand jury in the Middle District of Florida returned an indictment charging Yester-Garrido with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Later that month, based upon a provisional arrest warrant requested by the U.S. government, Italian authorities apprehended Yester-Garrido at the Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy. In July 2019, the Italian judicial authorities and the Ministry of Justice, granted the request for the extradition of Yester Garrido to the Middle District of Florida.  

“This is a great example of law enforcement and prosecutors from different countries working together to safeguard communities and have a global impact on crime,” said Marcus R. Anderson, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of DEA Miami Division, Orlando District Office.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Office of International Affairs of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice provided significant support with the defendant’s extradition. The U.S. Marshals Service also provided critical assistance by extraditing Yester-Garrido from Italy to the Middle District of Florida. This case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sean P. Shecter.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
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Updated July 16, 2019