Guatemala court OKs extradition of suspected drug boss to U.S.

June 14, 2012

Reuters on June 13, 2012 released the following:

“(Reuters) – A Guatemalan court authorized on Wednesday the extradition to the United States of Horst Overdick, who is accused of being one of Central America’s top drug traffickers with close ties to Mexico’s brutal Zetas gang.

Overdick, 44, nicknamed “the Tiger,” was arrested in April and judges ruled he was responsible for overseeing large shipments of cocaine from South America to the United States.

The court also said that Overdick helped build clandestine runways to land cocaine shipments in Guatemala and stored the drugs in warehouses.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez must ratify the extradition.

Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez has said Overdick was the most important link in Guatemala for the Zetas, the drug cartel founded by deserters from the Mexican army that has expanded into Central America.

In May 2011, the Zetas beheaded 27 farm workers in northern Guatemala in a dispute with the farm’s owner over cocaine shipments to the United States.

A New York district court has requested Overdick’s extradition on charges that he helped ship 1,200 kg (2,650 pounds) of cocaine to the United States in 2002.

(Reporting by Mike McDonald; Editing by Peter Cooney)”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Guatemala here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Alleged Guatemalan ‘drug lord’ Juan Ortiz Lopez faces US extradition

February 29, 2012

BBC on February 29, 2012 released the following:

“A Guatemalan court has approved the extradition to the US of Juan Ortiz Lopez, alleged to be one of Guatemala’s main drug traffickers.

Mr Ortiz, captured in March 2011 by US and Guatemalan agents, is accused of smuggling cocaine into the US.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina is stepping up efforts against organised crime.

He has ordered the army to join the fight but also called for the possible decriminalisation of drugs.

At the time of his arrest, Mr Ortiz was described by Guatemalan officials as a “big fish”.

A federal court in Florida has charged him with trafficking large amounts of cocaine into the US.

Mr Ortiz has said he is innocent and that he will appeal against the extradition ruling.

Guatemala is struggling against the growing influence of Mexican drugs cartels in large areas of the country.

Mr Perez Molina, a retired general, took office in January, promising an “iron fist” against crime.

But he has also urged a regional rethink on drugs policy.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Colombian police arrest 35 alleged drug traffickers wanted in the US

February 27, 2012

Colombia Reports on February 27, 2012 released the following:

“CHRISTAN LEONARD

The Colombian National Police have arrested 35 members of the “Clan Galeano” who are wanted by the United States for [d]rug trafficking in conjunction with their partners in Mexico and Central America, they announced Monday.

The alleged drug traffickers were arrested specifically for extradition in what Police Director General Oscar Naranjo called “the largest number captured for extradition in the country’s history.”

The police carried out simultaneous raids all over the country and also seized nearly $1 million in cash.

Over the 8 month investigation the police have also seized 11 tons of cocaine and 25 aircraft which had been transporting over a ton of cocaine hydrochloride weekly.

“A second phase of investigation will be concentrated particularly on disrupting the facilitators and collaborators of the mafia structure. We refer promptly to air traffic controllers and some former officials and immigration officials,” said Naranjo.

The Clan Galeano inherited the cocaine empire of Medellin cartel co-founder Carlos Ledher Rivas after his capture in 1987.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Colombia here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Alleged Guatemala Traffickers Exploit Legal Tool to Fight Extradition

February 7, 2012

InSightCrime.org on February 7, 2012 released the following:

“Written by Steven Dudley

A legal safeguard built into Guatemala’s justice system is being used to stall the extraditions to the United States of some of the country’s most notorious suspected drug traffickers.

The writ of amparo — which is something along the lines of an injunction in the United States, or “accion tutela” in Colombia — provides widespread “relief” or “protection” for the appellate who feels that a statute, law or government action is violating his rights under the country’s constitution.

The amparo is a broad measure that can also be used to reclaim rights as well, such as the right to obtain government-generated documents (equivalent to the Freedom of Information Act in the United States). As such, it is a sacred legal tool.

However, lawyers of some of Guatemala’s most notorious suspected organized crime figures are repeatedly employing the amparo in what appears to be an effort to indefinitely delay the extradition of their clients.

There at least nine high-profile suspects awaiting extradition who have used the measure.

1. Waldemar Lorenzana, alias “The Patriarch,” the long-time head of the Lorenzana clan, a diverse and powerful trafficking group that has been accused of working with both the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas.

2. Elio Lorenzana (pictured above), the son of Waldemar, and a suspected trafficker in his father’s organization.

3. Juan Ortiz Lopez, alias “Chamale,” the Guatemalan contact for the Sinaloa Cartel in the San Marcos state along the Mexican border.

4. Mauro Salomon Ramirez, a top lieutenant for the Chamale organization.

5. Alma Lucrecia Hernandez, Salomon’s replacement after his arrest in 2010.

6. Edgar Leonel Estrada, arrested for importing large amounts of pseudoephedrine, the raw material for methamphetamine, for the Mexican criminal organization Familia Michoacana.

7. Victor Emilio Estrada Paredes, who worked closely with his half-brother Edgar.

8. Byron Linares, a long-time drug trafficker who was captured then released in the early 2000s, then recaptured; Linares allegedly has connections in Colombia and sells illegal drugs to the Sinaloa Cartel, among others.

9. Alfonso Portillo, Guatemala’s ex-president who is accused of embezzlement, and has been tied to a group of ex-military intelligence personnel that facilitates drug trafficking, human smuggling, illegal adoptions, and other criminal activities.

The frivolous nature of the amparos has US authorities wringing their hands. In one case, the suspect’s lawyer filed an amparo contending that the words “United States” was not specific enough language to know who the accuser was, and that it could be confused with “the United States of Mexico.”

Others have made references to conflicts of interest within the court system, as this account from elPeriodico illustrates, attempting to sideline judges they deem unfavorable.

The most common amparos challenge the constitutionality of extradition (for example, see pdf version of what Elio Lorenzana’s lawyers filed in 2011, following his capture).

Guatemala allows extradition for cases that have been resolved or in cases in which the suspect is not wanted for a crime in Guatemala. But only Portillo and Linares still faces charges in Guatemala. Once those are settled, their lawyers are likely to file more amparos.

In the case of Portillo, this may be futile. Guatemala’s former president Alvaro Colom, in one of his last big decisions as head of state, authorized the extradition of one of his longtime political rivals just months after the courts, in a shameful ruling, absolved Portillo, and two of his accomplices, of several charges.

The amparo has also been employed against other judicial bodies seeking to prosecute organized crime figures, most notably the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a United Nations-sponsored project that assists judicial and police authorities in investigating high-profile crimes.

The legal tactics go beyond amparos. On February 1, the day a court was to decide Elio Lorenzana’s fate, his lawyers resigned, leaving him without a defense and leaving the court with little choice but to suspend the hearing.

Traffickers in other countries have employed amparos as well, most notably in Mexico and Venezuela, where high-profile figures have argued extradition violates the constitution and their rights under it.

Amparos in extradition cases are not new, and US Congress has discussed their use in public hearings in the past. They have long been filed if the accused can face longer or more harsh sentences in the United States for their crimes than under their own countries’ laws.

Some of the most significant Guatemalan traffickers, such as Otto Herrera and Mario Paredes, alias “El Gordo,” were captured in other countries, making their extraditions or deportations easier. Both Herrera and Paredes were tried and sentenced in the United States.

However, the Guatemala-based cases can take months or years, and US authorities have no option but to wait.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Guatemala here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


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