A suspected Guatemalan drug trafficker who allegedly arranged for large quantities of cocaine to be transported across international waters and into the U.S. was arraigned in San Diego federal court Friday.
Willian Estuardo Lemus Lara, 49, is accused of running an operation responsible for moving cocaine from Colombia and Ecuador to Costa Rica and Guatemala via go-fast boats.
Federal prosecutors allege Lemus then sold the drugs to Mexican drug traffickers, with a goal of bringing the product into the U.S.
Lemus, described in a U.S. Attorney’s news release as “a suspected high-level cartel boss,” was allegedly part of a two-year conspiracy. Prosecutors contend that it involved directing the movement of cocaine while facilitating refueling vessels for the go-fast boats transporting the drugs.
Federal authorities seized about 13,000 pounds of cocaine during the investigation.
“Federal law enforcement officials worked together in three countries to successfully disrupt a dangerous drug trafficking ring that sought to smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the United States,” U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said.
A federal grand jury indicted Lemus on Jan. 18, 2018.
The defendant faces charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine on board a vessel, as well as international conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. He’s being held without bond and is due back in court June 19.
– City News Service
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