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Press Release

Guatemalan National Sentenced to 240 Months in Prison for Trafficking Over One Ton of Cocaine

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida

On November 8, 2017, a Guatemalan national was sentenced to 240 months in prison by United States District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. for trafficking over one ton of cocaine.


            Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), made the announcement.


            The trial evidence showed that defendant Santos Gonzales-Cahvec, 38, of Guatemala, assisted in the transportation of over one ton of cocaine from Colombia destined for Mexico before being intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard approximately 382 nautical miles off the Pacific coast from the Guatemalan/Mexican border. Mexico is a known transit zone through which Mexican drug traffickers smuggle cocaine into the United States and onto Europe. Gonzales-Cahvec testified at trial and claimed to have been abducted by drug traffickers while visiting in Cali, Colombia and forced to participate in transporting what he later learned to be cocaine. Government witnesses told the jury that Gonzales-Cahvec was sent from Guatemala to Colombia by the Mexican drug Cartel to arrange for the transfer of the narcotics from the vessel to a Mexican vessel for delivery of the cocaine to Cartel members in Mexico.


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.


            Mr. Greenberg commended the interdiction efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard and the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Behnke.


Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

Updated November 17, 2017

Drug Trafficking