“Former Guatemalan President Pleads Not Guilty After Extradition”

May 29, 2013

The Wall Street Journal on May 28, 2013 released the following press release:

“Samuel Rubenfeld
Wall Street Journal

A former Guatemalan president was extradited last Friday to New York to face money laundering charges, the latest in the Justice Department’s heightened efforts to get defendants detained internationally to face corruption charges.

Alfonso Portillo,who led Guatemala from 2000 to 2004, embezzled tens of millions of dollars in state assets, some of which he laundered through U.S. and European bank accounts, prosecutors alleged Tuesday.

Portillo pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson. If convicted, Portillo faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

He has long denied the allegations against him, telling CNN en Español in January the charges are a political witch-hunt borne of his opposition to the U.S.-led Iraq war.

“If deposits were made, they are deposits that first of all come from institutions that are not illicit,” he was quoted by CNN as saying. “In order for there to be laundering, the first requirement is that the money is from an illegal origin or comes from an illegal activity.”

Portillo’s extradition to the U.S. highlights a recently favored tool in corruption cases by law enforcement authorities, in which people are detained overseas and brought to the U.S. to face the charges against them.

The Justice Department built up its capacity and bolstered its relationships with foreign counterparts, allowing it to more frequently pursue cases and defendants internationally, said Peter Carr, a spokesman, in an email.

“The result is we are pursuing the extradition of more defendants, including high-profile defendants, such as [Viktor] Bout and Portillo,” Carr said.

However, the results of these efforts are somewhat mixed, based on a review of recent cases.

Bout was extradited and convicted, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. His associate was extradited to New York last week.

In January, a U.K. businessman was extradited, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in El Paso, Texas, federal court to three years behind bars for trying to help ship missile parts to Iran.

And in April 2012, the leader of a Mexican drug cartel was brought to the U.S. to face racketeering and money-laundering charges, for which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

But prosecutors are struggling to bring a former Thai official to the U.S. to face money-laundering charges in a case that’s been stayed until March 2014, and their support to Bahamian authorities in another case still ended in failure.

In another case, prosecutors have been trying to extradite a South Korean man since 2009 to face U.S. foreign bribery charges, but court papers from the man’s lawyers say Seoul won’t do it because the people he’s accused of bribing aren’t considered public officials under local law.

Carr declined to comment on the Justice Department’s record of extradition.”

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

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

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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 senior member of Tijuana drug cartel extradited to U.S.

September 1, 2012

CNN on August 31, 2012 released the following:

“By Carol Cratty, CNN

(CNN) — A man alleged to be a senior member of a Tijuana-based drug cartel was extradited from Mexico to the United States on Friday to stand trial.

Eduardo Arellano-Felix, 55, faces charges of narcotics trafficking, racketeering and money laundering.

He was arrested on October 25, 2008, after a gunbattle with Mexican forces, the Justice Department said. Arellano-Felix was ordered extradited to the United States in 2010 but spent nearly two years on unsuccessful appeals of his case.

“The extradition of Eduardo Arellano-Felix today marks the end of a 20-year DEA investigation into this vicious drug cartel,” said William Sherman, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s acting special agent in charge in San Diego.

According to a Justice Department news release, his cartel, the Arellano-Felix Organization, “controlled the flow of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs through the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali into the United States.” Prosecutors said the group brought Colombian cocaine into Mexico by sea and air, then smuggled it into the United States for sale.

The Justice Department estimates the cartel made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits.

“The FBI is pleased with Mexico’s efforts to bring to justice a leader from one of the most violent criminal enterprises in our history,” said San Diego FBI Special Agent in Charge Daphne Hearn. “The spirit of cooperation between our two countries is a powerful force in disrupting the criminal activities of these groups that instill fear and threaten the safety of our citizens in the border regions of the United States.”

Arellano-Felix is scheduled to make his first court appearance in San Diego on September 4.

The Justice Department noted two brothers of the accused already are serving time in the United States. Benjamin Arellano-Felix and Francisco Javier Arellano-Felix were convicted on drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering charges.”

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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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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

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New Zealand judge in Kim Dotcom extradition case steps down after jokingly calling US ‘enemy’

July 18, 2012

The Washington Post on July 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A New Zealand judge has stepped down from overseeing the extradition case of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom after jokingly referring to the United States as “the enemy.”

The comment by Auckland District Court Judge David Harvey raised questions about his impartiality. He was discussing Internet copyright at a conference last week when he told an audience, “We have met the enemy, and he is U.S.”

Harvey’s comments referencing late cartoonist Walt Kelly were recorded and posted on the Internet.

The U.S. is attempting to extradite Dotcom on racketeering and money laundering charges that allege his file-sharing site was facilitating massive Internet piracy.

Harvey will be replaced by judge Nevin Dawson. An extradition hearing has been scheduled for March.”

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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 New Zealand 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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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

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Dotcom extradition case costs mounting

April 11, 2012

tvnz.co.nz on April 11, 2012 released the following:

“Source: ONE News

More than $1 million has so far been spent on the extradition case for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.

The United States wants to extradite Dotcom on copyright, money laundering and racketeering charges arising from his internet business and he is awaiting a hearing.

New Zealand Crown lawyers have been battling on behalf of the US Government, and figures obtained by ONE News under the Official Information Act show the figure has already reached more than $1,120,000.

In total, 13 Crown lawyers have been involved with the case including the two senior counsel in court, the Solicitor General and Deputy Solicitor General and nine other lawyers.

Based on Crown Law office information on lawyers’ time, ONE News estimates their cost at nearly one million dollars so far. Added to that is $70,000 for Dotcom’s arrest and seizure of his assets, another $62,000 to store and insure those assets and just over $20,000 on costs such as travel and accommodation for the Crown’s legal team.

The cost is being met by the New Zealand Government because of a 1970 treaty which says it will pay for extradition cases here on behalf of the United States, while the US Government will pay costs when New Zealand wants people extradited from America.

The reciprocal deal is not universally popular, however.

“If the case is being brought on behalf of the overseas government, and for the benefit of the overseas government, than they should be paying the cost,” extradition lawyer Grant Illingworth told ONE News.

With another five months of legal wrangling ahead legal professionals believe this could be the most expensive extradition case ever heard in New Zealand.

Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff said the situation could prove expensive for the Government.

“The problem in this case is that while the United States is calling the shots, it’s the New Zealand taxpayer that meets the cost and potential liability. I hope the government’s got the process right,” he told ONE News.

The Government says the costs of the case are “non-billable”, so no actual money will be changing hands. Rather, it says the costs will be absorbed into its legal budget.

Dotcom is currently under house arrest at his Coatesville home, although he was recently granted permission to use a swimming pool in a neighbouring property and make occasional visits to a recording studio to finish work on an album.”

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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 New Zealand 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 C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Mexico Captures Armando Villareal Heredia an Alleged US-born Tijuana Drug Lieutenant

July 12, 2011

The Associated Press (AP) on July 11, 2011 released the following:

“By ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON, Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Federal police have captured a U.S.-born drug lieutenant who joined the Tijuana cartel after a crackdown on the notorious Arellano Felix brothers caused the group to splinter and emerge with a younger leadership, officials said Monday.

Armando Villareal Heredia, 33, is a San Diego native accused of trafficking drugs from the northern state of Sinaloa into the United States, federal police said in a statement.

Villareal is also wanted by the U.S. on federal conspiracy and racketeering charges, according to a 2010 complaint that alleges murder, kidnapping and other crimes in both Mexico and California. Named in the most-wanted list of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s San Diego region, Villareal is among 43 defendants charged by the U.S. Attorney.

Mexican and U.S. authorities say Villareal takes orders from Fernando Sanchez Arellano, aka “The Engineer,” a drug kingpin who is the leader of a younger but weaker Tijuana cartel. Sanchez, who is in his 30s, is a nephew of the four Arellano Felix brothers who have been either killed or arrested since 2006.

In the complaint, U.S. officials say Sanchez’s criminal organization is an offshoot of the defunct Arellano Felix cartel, whose domination of Tijuana was fictionally portrayed in the Hollywood movie “Traffic.”

Federal police arrested Villareal on Saturday in the northern city of Hermosillo.

Justice Department spokeswoman Debra Hartman confirmed Villareal was a U.S. citizen. Hartman did not want to comment on Monday on a possible extradition request.

In the past, Mexican authorities have captured other drug cartel members born in the U.S. Last August Mexican authorities captured a Texas-born drug kingpin Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as “La Barbie.”

The arrest or death of the Tijuana cartel’s leadership in recent years sparked a bloody war of succession, but the strategy used to bring the gang down is being replicated in other violence-plagued regions.

More than 35,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon began its offensive against organized crime in 2006, according to official figures. Some groups put the number at more than 40,000.

In other parts of Mexico, drug cartels are also splintering to form offshoots triggering violent confrontations.

On Monday, Mexican authorities blamed the Knights Templar, a gang that broke away from La Familia cartel, for the Friday killings of 11 people outside Mexico City.

The victims were shot with high-powered rifles and found piled near a water well on the outskirts of Mexico City.

The attorney general of Mexico state, home to suburbs that ring Mexico’s capital, said the victims were kidnapped two days earlier in a bar by members of the Knights Templar, according to the only survivor of the mass killing.

Attorney general Alfredo Castillo said the survivor told police only four of the 11 victims were members of the cult-like La Familia cartel and deemed as rivals of the Knights Templar.

Associated Press writer Gloria Perez in Toluca contributed to this story.”

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