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Press Release

More Than Six Years After Fleeing the U.S., Dominican Republic Native Sentenced to 6.5 Years in Federal Prison for Smuggling $2 Million in Heroin

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A Dominican Republic native and former New York City resident has been sentenced in federal court to 78 months of incarceration, to be followed by five years of supervised release, on his conviction for federal drug trafficking offenses, United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced today.

United States District Judge Robert J. Colville imposed the sentence on Habys Omar Meran, age 38.

According to information presented to the Court, on January 26, 2016, Meran was driving a van containing a sophisticated, hydraulically activated hidden compartment when stopped on Interstate 80 by a Pennsylvania State Trooper who specializes in drug interdiction. The compartment was found to contain over four kilograms of heroin, an amount valued at over $2 million when packaged and sold on the street. Meran’s passenger—his relative Juan Wilquin Hernandez-Bourdier—was convicted by a jury of all charges on December 13, 2018, and is currently serving a 10-year sentence in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. But prior to Meran’s trial, Meran removed his ankle monitor and fled the country on November 23, 2017. The United States Marshals Service initiated a fugitive investigation and Meran was arrested in the Dominican Republic in 2023 and subsequently extradited back to the United States under an international treaty with the Dominican Republic government.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Colville stated that the seriousness of Meran’s drug-trafficking actions and his subsequent flight from justice warranted the significant sentence imposed. Judge Colville also ordered that the vehicle used to transport the drugs be forfeited to the federal government and noted that Meran will be deported to the Dominican Republic after serving his 78-month term of imprisonment.

Assistant United States Attorneys Ross E. Lenhardt and James R. Wilson prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Olshan commended the Department of Homeland Security Investigations for the investigation that led to the prosecution of both Meran and Hernandez-Bourdier, with valuable assistance from the Pennsylvania State Police Interdiction Team, Pennsylvania State Police Crime Lab, Department of Homeland Security Crime Lab, United States Marshals Service, and Drug Enforcement Administration.

Updated April 24, 2024

Drug Trafficking