Drug Cartel Leader Arrested
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew J. Sutton
and Adam L. Braverman (619) 546-8941 and (619) 546-6717
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – October 27, 2017
SAN DIEGO – Major Mexican drug cartel leader Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad, aka Cadete, was arraigned in federal court on October 11, 2017, following his arrest by United States law enforcement at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on charges arising out of the Southern District of California. Quintero Navidad is the cousin of fugitive Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero and the associate of high-ranking Mexican cartel leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia, aka Mayo. He is believed to be one of the highest-ranking Mexican cartel leaders to be arrested in the United States.
In August 2014, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Quintero Navidad as a “Special Designated Narcotics Trafficker,” pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. As part of that designation, OFAC identified Quintero Navidad as a Mexico-based narcotics trafficker who coordinated the transportation of ton quantities of cocaine from South America through Mexico and onto the United States.
A federal grand jury in San Diego returned an indictment on September 22, 2017, charging Quintero Navidad with Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances Intended for Importation, Conspiracy to Import Controlled Substances and Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments. That same day, the Clerk of the Court issued a sealed warrant for his arrest. On October 11, 2017, Quintero Navidad was arrested at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, and on that same day, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jan M. Adler arraigned Quintero Navidad on these charges and unsealed the indictment against him.
The unsealed indictment marks the conclusion of the initial phase of a multi-year investigation. This joint Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation targeted the leadership elements, lieutenants, associates, and money launderers connected with the Rafael Caro-Quintero (RCQ) DTO and Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO).
“Today is yet another reminder that there is no place to hide, because the Southern District of California, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to pursue and prosecute international drug kingpins who for years profited from the shipment and sale of illegal drugs,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson. “With this action, one of the most significant drug traffickers in Mexico will be brought to justice.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Robinson also praised the outstanding work of the federal team from HSI Calexico / DEA Imperial County in the culmination of this investigation. Acting U.S. Attorney Robinson also thanked Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Enforcement Operations and the Office of International Affairs, and the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for their ongoing assistance in this investigation.
“The arrest of Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad is a result of outstanding investigative work by HSI special agents in Calexico, in collaboration with our federal, state, local and international law enforcement partners,” said Dave Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of HSI in San Diego. “HSI agents worked tirelessly to identify and arrest Mr. Quintero Navidad, underscoring our resolve to ensure he is brought to justice.”
“The arrest of Sajid Quintero-Navidad illustrates the great work that DEA and its law enforcement partners do every day,” said DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge William Sherman. “This high level target will no longer be able to smuggle deadly drugs across our border.”
This case is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.
DEFENDANT Case Number 17CR2976-CAB
Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad, aka Cadete Age: 36 Mexico City, Mexico
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances for Purpose of Unlawful Importation, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C. §§ 959, 960 and 963; Term of custody including a mandatory minimum 10 years and up to life imprisonment, $10,000,000 fine and 5 years supervised release.
Conspiracy to Import Controlled Substances, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C. §§ 952, 960 and 963. Term of custody including a mandatory minimum 10 years and up to life imprisonment, $10,000,000 fine and 5 years supervised release.
Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1956. Term of custody up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved, and 5 years of supervised release.
Homeland Security Investigations
Drug Enforcement Administration
Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations
United States Marshals Service
Department of Justice, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces
Department of Justice, Office of Enforcement Operations
Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs
Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control
Customs and Border Protection, Office of Border Patrol
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement and Removal Operations
El Centro Police Department
Brawley Police Department
Imperial County District Attorney’s Office
Imperial Valley, Law Enforcement Coordination Center
*An indictment or complaint is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the Government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.