Mexican judges back extradition suspected drug queen to the US after previous attempts failed

June 8, 2012

The Washington Post on June 7, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — A panel of Mexican judges on Thursday agreed to the extradition of a suspected drug trafficker known as the “Queen of the Pacific,” who is wanted in the United States on cocaine-related charges.

The three federal appellate judges said Sandra Avila Beltran could be tried outside of Mexico, but only on one of the two charges prosecutors sought.

Avila cannot be tried for the seizure of more than nine tons of U.S.-bound cocaine off a vessel in Mexico’s western port of Manzanillo because a Mexican judge acquitted her in that case in December 2010. An appeals court upheld the verdict last August.

Previous requests to extradite the high-profile suspect have been denied twice by a panel and then by a judge, who argued that the confiscation of the nine tons of cocaine would inevitably be part of the foreign trial.

But the judges on Thursday ruled that Beltran has to answer to a charge stemming from several seizures in Chicago in 2001 that amounted to 100 kilograms of cocaine. The 2004 indictment in the Southern District of Florida does not specify Beltran’s role in the drug-dealing case.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department must re-file the extradition request to leave out the charge related to the Manzanillo seizure. The department did not respond on Thursday to a request by The Associated Press for comment.

Avila remains in a prison in the Mexican state of Nayarit, pending trial for a separate money-laundering charge. It was not immediately clear how Mexican prosecutors would proceed with that charge.

Avila, who was arrested in 2007 sipping coffee in a Mexico City diner, has said she is innocent. Her attorney could not be immediately reached for fresh comment.

Her case is widely known in Mexico because Avila is the niece of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, “the godfather” of Mexican drug smuggling who is serving a 40-year sentence for trafficking and the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena in 1985.

Prosecutors have alleged that Avila spent more than a decade working her way to the top of Mexico’s drug trade. They say her romance with Colombian Juan Diego Espinoza brought together Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel with Colombia’s Norte del Valle.

The Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been locked in a vicious fight with violent Los Zetas gang in several regions of the country.

In the northern state of Tamaulipas, 14 bodies were abandoned Thursday inside a bus near the city hall building of Ciudad Mante. Soldiers deployed in the area found a message in which a gang took responsibility for the killings, according to a Tamaulipas statement. It did not say which gang or give more details.

Drug cartels often leave messages in crime scenes as a threat to enemies.

The bodies of the three women and 11 men have not been identified.

Also Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it is placing financial sanctions on a wife and son of Guzman, who is Mexico’s most-wanted man.

The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said that it had designated Maria Alejandrina Salazar Hernandez and Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, 26, under the U.S. Kingpin Act. That bars American citizens from making business transactions with them and allows authorities to freeze their assets in the U.S.

Guzman escaped prison in 2001 and has evaded authorities ever since, moving from hideout to hideout as he directs the operations of his powerful cartel. The U.S. and Mexican government have been intensifying their actions against Guzman’s family in recent months.

Authorities in the U.S. and Mexico have said they believe Guzman has children with several partners, including an 18-year-old woman whom he married in an elaborate public ceremony in 2007. The Treasury Department described Salazar Hernandez, 53, as a wife of Guzman, without providing details.

The department last month announced sanctions against Guzman’s sons Ivan Archivaldo “El Chapito” Guzman Salazar, 31, and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, 22.”

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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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U.S. asks Iraq to extradite Hezbollah suspect

June 4, 2012

The West Australian on June 2, 2012 released the following:

“Phil Stewart, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has formally asked Iraq to extradite a suspected Hezbollah operative accused of killing American troops, a U.S. official told Reuters, amid heightened concerns in Washington that he may go free.

It was not immediately clear when the request was filed and Iraqi officials approached by Reuters denied knowledge of it, casting doubt on whether an extradition was seriously being considered at this point in Baghdad.

The fate of Ali Mussa Daqduq has been vexing American officials since last December, when the United States was forced to hand him over to Baghdad after failing to secure a custody deal ahead of the U.S. military’s withdrawal from the country.

At the time, the White House said it had received assurances from Baghdad that Daqduq would be tried for allegedly orchestrating a 2007 kidnapping that resulted in the killing of five U.S. military personnel. But an Iraqi court earlier this month cleared him of the charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Daqduq’s attorney confirmed that the Lebanese-born suspect remained in Iraqi custody but scoffed at the suggestion that Daqduq might face American courts.

“The Americans have no right to get him,” Abdulalmehdi al-Mutiri, Daqduq’s lawyer, told Reuters. “Whatever they claim that he did, it would have happened on Iraqi soil and that means he is under Iraqi jurisdiction.”

Indeed, there are real questions about whether Iraq – which previously shunned U.S. efforts to retain custody of Daqduq – would respond positively to an extradition request.

The White House declined comment on whether any request had been made but President Barack Obama’s government has said it will pursue all legal options to bring justice to Daqduq.

REPUBLICAN CRITICISM

Republicans have sharply criticized Obama’s handling of the case. In a May 10 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Attorney General Eric Holder, Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked whether any formal extradition request had been made for Daqduq, who was born in Lebanon.

“The U.S. has filed a formal extradition request” with the Iraqi government, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s media advisor Ali al-Moussawi said he was unaware of any extradition request for Daqduq and declined to be drawn into what he saw as a hypothetical question about how the Iraqi government would respond to one.

Asked about the possibility Daqduq might soon go free, the U.S. official confirmed: “That’s a real worry.”

Daqduq was captured in March 2007 and initially claimed he was a deaf mute. U.S. forces accused him of being a surrogate for Iran’s elite Quds force operatives and say he joined the Lebanese Hezbollah in 1983.

Daqduq’s attorney said a representative of Hezbollah had come to Iraq but left “because he felt he could not do anything more.”

“But legally Daqduq is clear, there are no charges against him,” Mutiri said.

If Daqduq were extradited, he would face charges for war crimes. A second U.S. official confirmed that charges filed against Daqduq in the U.S. military commissions system earlier this year included murder, attempted murder, attempted taking of hostages, spying, and terrorism.

It was not immediately clear where the U.S. military commission trial for Daqduq would be held if he were ultimately extradited. But Panetta last year told Congress that Daqduq would face “better justice” if tried by the United States.

FBI Director Robert Mueller said last month his department would be “willing and able” to cooperate with a military commission trial if the U.S. wins custody of Daqduq.

“In the meantime, however, we have cooperated with the Iraqi authorities in providing intelligence and information for their proceedings in Iraq,” Mueller told Congress.”

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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

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call: mcnabb.mcnabbassociates

           Office Locations

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Chihuahua officials seek extradition of border agent in the ’10 shooting death of teenager

May 4, 2012

El Paso Times on May 4, 2012 released the following:

“By Marisela Ortega Lozano and Aaron Bracamontes

Chihuahua’s governor on Thursday demanded that a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with murder in Juárez in the shooting death of a teenager on the banks of the Río Grande be sent to Mexico to stand trial.

The agent’s El Paso lawyer said that will not happen.

“He is a U.S. citizen, and he was an agent of the United States Border Patrol acting in his capacity,” said lawyer Randy Ortega. “I don’t believe there is any treaty or pact that would allow him to be extradited.”

On Thursday, Chihuahua Gov. César Duarte said he wants the agent, Jesus Mesa, extradited to answer for the death of Sergio Adrián Güereca, 15.

Mesa has been charged with murder by the Chihuahua officials and faces 20 to 25 years in prison if convicted.

“From here (Juárez), we demand that the Mexican government seek extradition of border patrol agent Jesus Mesa to be prosecuted in Chihuahua,” Duarte said in a news release. “We have enough evidence to put Mesa on trial here in Chihuahua.”

On June 7, 2010, Mesa was patrolling on a bicycle along the Rio Grande when he came upon a group of boys, who included Güereca. The boys were running up a concrete spillway of the Rio Grande and touching a chain-link fence on the U.S. side.

When Mesa took one of the boys into custody, the rest of the group allegedly began to throw rocks at the agent. Mesa then fired at the group, striking Güereca twice, once fatally in the head.

The incident was recorded on a cellphone and shown on Mexican television.

“Since the U.S. often claims human-rights alleged violations against their citizens abroad, that is enough for President Obama to surrender this agent,” Duarte said.

Duarte asked Mexican Interior Department Secretary Alejandro Poiré to demand extradition of Mesa. At this point, it’s not known whether Mexico has officially asked that the U.S. government hand Mesa over to Mexican authorities.

In recent years, Mexico has extradited to the United States many Mexican citizens who were wanted on drug-smuggling, murder and other charges.

“There will be justice” for Güereca, Duarte vowed. “Chihuahua’s government is starting this fight and we are going to make justice; there is already a warrant arrest against Mesa.”

However Mesa’s lawyer, Ortega, said he does not think his client will be extradited.

“I always believed they would do this in order to gain media publicity,” Ortega said. “I think it’s more a deflection tactic.”

Mesa has been cleared of any wrongdoing by U.S. authorities, including all civil and criminal charges, and he is no longer under investigation in the U.S.

If Mexico does ask for an extradition, Ortega said, he will work with the Justice Department, but he fully expects the extradition to be dismissed.

According to Chihuahua officials in Juárez, the boy’s mother, María Guadalupe Güereca, approached Duarte during a law and safety forum in Juárez and asked him to prosecute Mesa.

“I hope you can help us,” Güereca was quoted as saying in the news release. “I don’t want money, but justice for my son. I want the agent to be punished. My son was not a smuggler at all. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.””

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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

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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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International criminal questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call: mcnabb.mcnabbassociates

           Office Locations

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Man charged in fatal ICE ambush

December 22, 2011

El Paso Times on December 22, 2011 released the following:

“By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times

A man accused of taking part in the Feb. 11 slaying of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent that also left a second ICE agent wounded was charged on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., after Mexico extradited him to the United States.

Julian “Piolin” Zapata Espinoza faces charges for his alleged role in the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata of Brownsville, and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila of El Paso.

“The extradition and charges filed against Zapata Espinoza is an important step in bringing Jaime and Victor’s alleged shooters to justice,” ICE Director John Morton said. “All of us at ICE are encouraged by today’s action and appreciate the unwavering work and support of all our law enforcement partners in this case.”

“The indictment unsealed today and the successful extradition of ‘Piolin’ to the United States reflect the Justice Department’s vigorous and determined efforts to seek justice for Agents Zapata and Avila,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners in Mexico to hold violent criminals accountable.”

On April 19, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a four-count indictment against Zapata Espinoza, charging him with one count of murder of an officer or employee of the United States, for the murder of Jaime Zapata; one count of attempted murder of an officer or employee of the United States; and one count of attempted murder of an internationally protected person, both for the attempted murder of Avila; and one count of using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.

Zapata Espinoza, who is being held without bond, appeared in U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth’s court and pleaded not guilty. His next appearance in court is scheduled for Jan. 25.

In a statement, the Mexican National Defense Secretariat said Mexican soldiers captured Zapata Espinoza on Feb. 23, along with other alleged members of the Zetas drug cartel.

Military officials said Zapata Espinoza “stated he was in charge of the group of gunmen that shot the U.S. agent, (and that) he said that this event was a mistake because they thought that the people in the (U.S. agents’) vehicle were members of an antagonistic (rival) group.”

U.S. officials said the two U.S. agents were traveling from a meeting in San Luis Potosi to Mexico City the day they were ambushed by a group of armed men.

Zapata, who began his law enforcement career with the Border Patrol, was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

Avila, the ICE agent who was shot twice in the leg, recovered from his wounds.

One of the charges is that Zapata Espinoza participated in the attempted murder of an “internationally protected person,” according to the indictment against him.

“He was apparently a U.S. federal agent that pursuant to international law had special protection,” said Douglas C. McNabb, a lawyer and senior principal with McNabb Associates PC, a global criminal defense firm with a website at www.mcnabbassociates.com.

Sheldon Snook, a deputy court clerk in the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., said the U.S. Attorneys Manual defines “internationally protected persons” based on U.S. legislation and United Nations conventions, including the Vienna Convention.

Such persons can include heads of state, diplomats and others that in this case the U.S. State Department has determined holds the status.”

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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

————————————————————–

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 Leader of ID Fraud Extradited from Mexico; Faces Charges in Chicago

July 15, 2010

An alleged leader of a counterfeit identification document business that operated in Chicago’s Little Village Community has been extradited from Mexico to face federal charges here, including racketeering conspiracy and murder-related offenses, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced today.

The defendant, Manuel Leija-Sanchez, 43, was arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court on eight counts, including racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to commit murder outside the United States, money laundering, bulk cash smuggling, and alien smuggling. He pleaded not guilty and remains in federal custody without bond. A status hearing was scheduled for Aug. 26 before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer. Leija-Sanchez was arrested in Mexico in October 2007 and remained in custody in Mexico until Mexican authorities surrendered him to U.S. law enforcement agents last Friday.

The charges are part of Operation Paper Tiger, an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that, in April 2007, resulted in charges against 24 defendants and dismantled an alleged fraudulent document ring that operated in and around the Little Village Discount Mall and generated nearly $3 million in annual profits.

Manuel Leija-Sanchez allegedly operated the fraudulent document business since 1993 with his brothers, Julio Leija-Sanchez and Pedro Leija-Sanchez. Supposedly, the Mexico-based Leija-Sanchez organization was supervised by an overall leader living in Chicago, and the leadership position rotated among the three Leija-Sanchez brothers, according to an October 2007 indictment. The leader in Chicago and others allegedly ordered violent acts against competitors, rivals and others.

The indictment alleged that the organization sold as many as 50 to 100 sets of fraudulent identification documents each day, charging customers approximately $200 to $300 cash per “set,” consisting of a Social Security card and either an Immigration “green card” or a state driver’s license.

Manuel Leija-Sanchez and his brothers allegedly conspired to murder Guillermo Jimenez-Flores, a former member of their organization who became a fledgling rival and was allegedly shot to death in Mexico in April 2007 by co-defendant Gerardo Salazar-Rodriguez, who was paid by and conspired with the three Leija-Sanchez brothers. The same four defendants also allegedly conspired about the same time to kill a second victim in Mexico.

Pedro Leija-Sanchez and Salazar-Rodriguez are both in custody in Mexico, while Julio Leija-Sanchez was arrested in Chicago and remains in custody while awaiting trial.

If convicted of the most serious charges against him, Manuel Leija-Sanchez faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

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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