Alleged Mexican drug kingpin Luis Rodriguez-Olivera was extradited from Mexico to the United States yesterday and will be arraigned later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on charges contained in a second superseding indictment returned on May 22, 2009. Rodriguez-Olivera is one of two brothers alleged to be the leaders of “Los Gueros,” an international drug organization responsible for shipping more than 100 tons of cocaine to the United States. Rodriguez-Olivera was arrested in Mexico on a provisional warrant issued from the Eastern District of New York.1

The extradition was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Brian Crowell, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York, and James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York. The investigation was conducted by DEA offices in New York, Texas, and Guadalajara, Mexico, and ICE/HSI, in New York, with assistance provided by the Internal Revenue Service and law enforcement authorities in Mexico.

According to the indictment and an unsealing application filed by the government, in 2007 the United States Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force designated the defendant and his brother, Esteban Rodriguez-Olivera, drug kingpins, adding them to the list of the world’s most significant narcotics traffickers and money launderers. Los Gueros’ supply route originated in Mexico, stretched into Texas, and branched off to various points within the United States, including the New York City metropolitan area. The organization received multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia along the coast of Mexico, and transported drug shipments into the United States through Laredo and McAllen, Texas.

The superseding indictment alleges that, for the period of 1996 to 2008, Los Gueros imported over 100,000 kilograms (100 tons) of cocaine into the United States, and the DEA estimates that between 2004 and 2006, the organization was responsible for shipping truckloads containing over 2,000 kilograms (two tons) of cocaine to New York City alone. As part of the investigation, in October 2004, ICE agents seized approximately 156 kilograms of cocaine hidden in one of the organization’s tractor-trailers; in 2005, ICE agents seized approximately $2.1 million in drug proceeds bound for the organization in Mexico; and in January 2006, Mexican authorities seized approximately 5.2 tons of the organization’s cocaine destined for the United States.

As detailed in the government’s detention letter, the $2.1 million seized at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2005 was sent by a New York co-conspirator as partial payment for a multi-kilogram load that was received and distributed in New York in the months just before the seizure. The defendant allegedly laundered his narcotics proceeds in a variety of ways, including by investing in seemingly legitimate businesses. The defendant was arrested at the airport in Mexico City on December 27, 2011, while attempting to fly out of Mexico using a false name.

“As alleged in the indictment, Luis Rodriguez-Olivera ran a multi-national narcotics enterprise whose reach spanned two continents and thousands of miles, and whose U.S. exports were literally more than 100 tons of cocaine. Hiding his drug proceeds in seemingly legitimate businesses, the defendant and his organization made millions from the drug trade. Cloaked in subterfuge, Rodriguez-Olivera traveled under a false name and posed as a legitimate business owner. But his ruse was no match for the combined efforts of law enforcement here and abroad,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Ultimately, no narcotics trafficker – kingpin or otherwise – will escape the reach of justice.” Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the agencies that conducted the government’s investigation, including DEA Task Force members from the New York Police Department and New York State Police, and thanked the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for their significant assistance in this case.

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Crowell stated, “The DEA Task Force team of Special Agents, NYPD Detectives, and New York State Police Investigators are tireless and relentless in bringing alleged narco-traffickers to justice.”

“As alleged in the indictment and other court filings, Rodriguez-Olivera made millions of dollars by peddling cocaine by the ton to New York City communities,” said ICE/HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Hayes. “This extradition sends a warning to drug kingpins all over the world - we will bring you to justice, no matter where in the world you hide.”

If convicted, Rodriguez-Olivera faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, and forfeiture of $50 million.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Walter M. Norkin.

The Defendant:

Age: 40