Skip to main content
Press Release

Four International Drug Traffickers Charged With Conspiring To Import Cocaine Into The United States And Related Firearms Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
The Defendants Allegedly Conspired With Former Honduran Congressman Juan Antonio Hernandez Alvarado, a/k/a “Tony Hernandez,” Sinaloa Cartel Leadership, and Others, to Import Large Quantities of Cocaine into the United States

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Wendy Woolcock, Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced that AMADO BELTRAN BELTRAN, a/k/a “Don Amado,” OTTO RENE SALGUERO MORALES, a/k/a “Otto Salguero,” RONALD ENRIQUE SALGUERO PORTILLO, a/k/a “Ronald Salguero,” and FERNANDO FELIX RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Don Fernando,” were charged in a Superseding Indictment in Manhattan federal court with conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and related weapons offenses involving the use and possession of machineguns and destructive devices.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, these defendants conspired with the corrupt Honduran officials they bribed to facilitate the importation into the U.S. of large quantities of cocaine for the Sinaloa cartel.  They allegedly provided security personnel – armed with machineguns and RPGs – for the drug shipments.  Thanks to the DEA, the defendants are now facing potential lengthy prison sentences if convicted.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Wendy Woolcock said:  “Following the recent conviction of former Honduran congressman Tony Hernandez, today’s charges are further proof that even well-connected drug traffickers will be held to account.  These alleged criminals will stop at nothing to protect their shipments of poison, often resorting to bribery, intimidation, and even violence.  The DEA is committed to doing all it can to combat the threat of drug-trafficking and stop these dangerous substances from flooding our communities and harming Americans.”

As alleged in the Superseding Indictment unsealed in federal court and statements made in court filings and proceedings[1]:

Beginning in at least approximately 2004, BELTRAN BELTRAN, SALGUERO MORALES, SALGUERO PORTILLO, and FELIX RODRIGUEZ worked together and with others – including, at times, former Honduran congressman Juan Antonio Hernandez Alvarado, a/k/a “Tony Hernandez,” and the leadership of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel – to transport large shipments of cocaine.  The defendants and other drug traffickers received the cocaine shipments in Honduras via air and maritime routes, which were typically dispatched from Colombia and Venezuela.  For protection from official interference, and in order to facilitate the safe passage of the cocaine through Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico so that the drugs could be imported into the United States, the defendants and others facilitated the payment of bribes to public officials, including Hernandez Alvarado and other Honduran politicians.  The defendants and others also provided armed security for the drugs, including individuals carrying machineguns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

*                      *                      *

BELTRAN BELTRAN, 57, of Mexico, SALGUERO MORALES, 58, of Guatemala, SALGUERO PORTILLO, 49, of Guatemala, and FELIX RODRIGUEZ, 45, of Mexico, are charged with (1) conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison; (2) using and carrying machine guns and destructive devices during, and possessing machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the cocaine-importation conspiracy, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison; and (3) conspiring to use and carry machine guns and destructive devices during, and to possess machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the cocaine-importation conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA’s Special Operations Division Bilateral Investigations Unit, New York Strike Force, and Tegucigalpa Country Office, as well as the Office of International Affairs of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Michael K. Krouse, Stephanie Lake, Daniel G. Nessim, Benjamin W. Schrier, and Kyle A. Wirshba are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.




[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment, and the description of the Superseding Indictment and statements and filings in court set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described herein should be treated as an allegation as to the defendants charged in the Superseding Indictment.


Jim Margolin, Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated December 17, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 19-434