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Press Release

Former Honduran Congressman Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Conspiring To Import Cocaine Into The United States And Possessing Machine Guns And Destructive Devices

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

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that FREDY RENAN NAJERA MONTOYA was sentenced to 30 years in prison for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and possessing machine guns and destructive devices during the course of that conspiracy.  NAJERA previously pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe, who sentenced Najera today.       

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “Fredy Najera, a former Honduran congressman, abused his high-powered position by operating a large-scale narcotics trafficking organization that imported tons of cocaine to the United States.  Najera oversaw the construction of airfields in Honduras and the use of militia-style tactics and weaponry to protect the illicit shipments.  Najera has now been sentenced to 30 years in U.S. federal prison for his conduct in connection to importing over 30 tons of cocaine, which continues to contribute to the devastating cycle of addiction and abuse that affects so many Americans.”

According to the Superseding Indictment, other court filings, and statements made during other court proceedings: 

From approximately 2008 through 2015, NAJERA abused his position as a Honduran congressman to lead large-scale and violent drug-trafficking activities in the same part of Honduras that he represented in his government position.  NAJERA’s crimes involved the distribution of more than 30 tons of cocaine, which was ultimately imported into the United States.  In connection with these activities, NAJERA used, and employed security teams who used military-grade weapons including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. 

During that same time period, NAJERA constructed, maintained, and staffed clandestine airstrips in Olancho, Honduras, that were used to receive multi-hundred-kilogram shipments of cocaine sent from Venezuela to Honduras.  NAJERA facilitated the receipt of cocaine-laden planes and helicopters at his airstrips and coordinated the transportation of the cocaine westward in Honduras so that it could be imported into the United States.  Heavily armed security personnel employed by NAJERA participated in the receipt and transportation of these shipments.  NAJERA also cultivated criminal relationships with members of the Honduran National Police and the Honduran military in order to support his drug-trafficking activities by obtaining sensitive law enforcement information used by traffickers to avoid arrests and to plan transportation routes for U.S.-bound cocaine.

In 2012, NAJERA introduced members of the Sinaloa Cartel to Honduran officials who provided nearly unfettered access to a major commercial shipping hub in Puerto Cortés, Honduras.  The Sinaloa Cartel relied on NAJERA’s connections to transport approximately 10 tons of cocaine through Puerto Cortés.

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In addition to his prison sentence, NAJERA, 46, of Honduras, was sentenced to five supervised release, ordered to forfeit $39,000,000, and ordered to pay a fine of $10,000,000.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding efforts of the Bilateral Investigations Unit of the Special Operations Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), New York Strike Force, and DEA Tegucigalpa Country Office, as well as the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.    

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (“OCDETF”) operation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.  Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

This case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacob H. Gutwillig, Michael D. Lockard, Jason A. Richman, and Elinor L. Tarlow are in charge of the prosecution.

Contact

Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated October 13, 2022

Topic
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 22-322