Lead Defendant in Operation Luz Verde Extradited from Mexico

May 24, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 23, 2012 released the following:

“United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that today Armando Villareal Heredia, aka Gordo Villareal, was successfully extradited from the Republic of Mexico to the United States to face federal racketeering (RICO) and drug charges in the Southern District of California. According to court documents, Villareal is the lead defendant in a 43-defendant racketeering prosecution against the Fernando Sanchez- Arellano Organization (FSO) which has been ongoing in the Southern District of California since July 2010. Villareal was arrested by Mexican law enforcement officers on July 9, 2011 at the request of the United States. Since his arrest in Mexico, Villareal has remained in custody pending extradition to the United States. According to the indictment, Villareal was one of the top leaders of this criminal organization, which evolved from the now-defunct Arellano-Felix Organization and is headed by the nephew of Benjamin and Javier Arellano-Felix.

“Today’s extradition of Villareal, a top-lieutenant in the FSO who answered directly to Fernando Sanchez Arellano, highlights our continued successful efforts to work with the government of Mexico to combat organized criminal activity along the southwest border,” United States Attorney Duffy stated. To date, 38 defendants have entered guilty pleas in the case. During those guilty pleas, the defendants admitted to participating in a violent transnational racketeering enterprise controlled by Fernando Sanchez- Arellano and to committing murders, kidnappings, robberies, assaults, money laundering, and a wide range of drug trafficking offenses. Four defendants are fugitives and the only other remaining in-custody defendant is scheduled for trial on June 5, 2012.

The indictment in this case resulted from a long-term investigation conducted by the multi-agency San Diego Cross Border Violence Task Force (CBVTF). The CBVTF was formed to target those individuals involved in organized crime-related violent activities affecting both the United States and Mexico. Law enforcement personnel assigned to the CBVTF made extensive use of court-authorized wiretaps and other sophisticated investigative techniques to develop the significant evidence which led to the charges in this case.

United States Attorney Duffy praised the Mexican government for their assistance in the extradition of Villareal. She also commended the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) for the coordinated team effort in handling this investigation, Operation Luz Verde. Agents and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; San Diego Police Department; Drug Enforcement Administration; San Diego Sheriff’s Office; Chula Vista Police Department; U.S. Marshals Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; San Diego District Attorney’s Office; and California Department of Justice participated in this OCDETF investigation. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in the extradition. The OCDETF program was created to consolidate and utilize all law enforcement resources in this country’s battle against organized crime and major drug trafficking organizations.

The defendant is expected to be in federal court in San Diego tomorrow, May 24, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Nita L. Stormes.

An indictment itself is not evidence that the defendant committed the crimes charged. The defendant is presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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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 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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Suspected killer of U.S. Border agent extradited from Mexico

October 17, 2011

Examiner on October 17, 2011 released the following:

“Jim Kouri, Law Enforcement Examiner

Marcos Rodríguez-Perez, one of five individuals charged with being involved in the 2009 murder of Border Patrol Agent Robert W. Rosas, Jr., was arraigned Friday in federal court in San Diego, California.

Rodríguez-Perez was arrested by Mexican authorities on April 11, 2011, in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico and was extradited from Mexico on October 13, 2011, escorted by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

The extradition of Rodríguez-Perez leaves only one suspect involved in the murder of Agent Rosas at large.
According to court documents, Agent Rosas was shot and killed on July 23, 2009, while he was on a routine patrol near Campo, California. José Juan Chacón-Morales, José Luis Ramirez-Dorantes, Marcos Rodríguez-Perez, Emilio Samyn Gonzales-Arenazas, and Christian Daniel Castro-Alvarez are accused in separate charging documents with traveling in Mexico to the United States-Mexico international border near Campo, California on July 23, 2009.

The indictments charge that Rodríguez-Perez, Gonzales-Arenazas, and Castro-Alvarez illegally entered the United States with firearms for the purpose of robbing a Border Patrol agent of government property. Chacón-Morales and Ramirez-Dorantes remained in Mexico to act as armed lookouts.

While Agent Rosas was engaged in the performance of his duties, Rodríguez-Perez, Gonzales- Arenazas, and Castro-Alvarez lured Agent Rosas out of his vehicle for the purpose of robbing him. It is alleged that during the course of the robbery, Agent Rosas was shot multiple times by Rodríguez-Perez, Gonzales-Arenazas, and Castro-Alvarez before they fled to Mexico with his gear bag, handcuffs, firearm, and night vision goggles.

On November 20, 2009, Castro-Alvarez waived indictment and entered a guilty plea, pursuant to a plea agreement, to murder of a federal officer committed in perpetration of a robbery. On April 29, 2010, Castro-Alvarez was sentenced to serve 40 years in federal prison.

Subsequently, Chacón-Morales, Ramirez-Dorantes, Rodríguez-Perez, and Gonzales-Arenazas each were indicted for conspiracy (robbery of personal property of U.S. and unlawful confinement of a federal officer), robbery of personal property of the United States, unlawful confinement of a federal officer resulting in death, murder of a federal officer committed in perpetration of a robbery and unlawful confinement, use and carrying of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.

On June 11, 2010, Ramirez-Dorantes was arrested by Mexican authorities pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant submitted to Mexico by the United States. He was subsequently extradited to the United States on December 9, 2010. A trial date of December 6, 2011 is set for Ramirez-Dorantes.

Gonzales-Arenazas was arrested by Mexican authorities pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant on October 8, 2010. He was subsequently extradited to the United States on March 16, 2011. On July 25, 2011, he pled guilty to the murder of Agent Rosas, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 19, 2012 before United States District Court Judge M. James Lorenz.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“ICE-HSI”) are jointly investigating Agent Rosas’ murder.

José Juan Chacón-Morales remains at large, and FBI and ICE-HSI are requesting assistance from the public in finding his whereabouts.”

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.