Edward J. Schwartz building
Edward J. Schwartz federal office building in downtown San Diego. Photo via casd.uscourts.gov

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the extraditions Thursday of four Guatemalans suspected of trafficking cocaine.

The defendants are charged in separate indictments alleging their involvement in the distribution of cocaine, with the ultimate aim of bringing the drugs to the U.S. market. Each defendant made his initial appearance in San Diego federal court last week.

Among them are Rafael Orlando Ramirez Barillas, 32, who is accused of taking part in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine throughout South and Central America, as well as onboard a vessel.

Prosecutors allege he partnered with convicted drug trafficker Luis Carlos Melgar-Morales, who admitted to distributing more than 20,000 pounds of cocaine during a two-year conspiracy.

Authorities arrested Ramirez Barillas last July in Guatemala.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also announced charges against three men resulting from a long-running probe, dubbed Operation Guerrilla Unit. Investigators targeted cocaine traffickers in northwest Guatemala, as well as their suppliers, in the effort.

Augusto Jean Carlo Castillo-Hernandez, 29, Jorge Alexander Campos- Oliva, 44 and Fabio Josue Campos-Oliva, 46, are charged in separate indictments with coordinating the smuggling of cocaine from South America to Guatemala.

All three men were arrested in Guatemala last August.

– City News Service