Suspected drug trafficking leader extradited to US from Mexico

Suspected drug trafficking leader extradited to US from Mexico

An alleged leader of an international drug trafficking organization arrived in the U.S. on Friday after being extradited from Mexico to face charges in an indictment that accuses him of managing a cocaine smuggling enterprise.

Angel Humberto Chavez-Gastelum was arrested in Mexico in 2018 and is to be arraigned as part of a 22-count indictment that accuses him of conspiring to transport cocaine worth hundreds of millions of dollars into the U.S.

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He is charged with drug-trafficking, drug importation and money laundering, as well as being the principal leader of a continuing criminal enterprise, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a release. He is also charged with two murders in 2017 in connection with the scheme.

Chavez-Gastelum is one of 47 defendants on the indictment, 22 of whom will have been arraigned. Other arrests in the investigation included the Colombian leader of the organization, who was extradited to the U.S. in 2018.

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The Department of Justice said the charges are the result of work by a number of agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The agency said that Chavez-Gastelum has been designated as one of the world’s most wanted drug traffickers, and accuse the Mexican national of controlling a network that brought cocaine from Colombia into Central America and then into Mexico. 

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Authorities said that law enforcement authorities seized 7,700 lbs of cocaine with a potential street value of $500 million during the investigation.