New Mexico Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristopher N. Houghton receives 2021 DOJ Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On June 22, Assistant United States Attorney Kristopher N. Houghton was selected as a recipient of a 2021 Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service. Houghton was selected for this award to recognize his superior performance through exceptional leadership over the Department of Justice’s extraditions and operations program in Colombia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since February of 2020, Houghton has been on special detail as Deputy Judicial Attaché and now Judicial Attaché for the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section of the Department of Justice.

In 2021, Houghton and Deputy Judicial Attaché Jamie Mickelson hired, trained and led a team of local staff in Bogotá, Colombia, and worked closely with the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs jointly completing 190 extraditions and submitting over 200 provisional arrest requests to the Government of Colombia. Houghton’s work resulted in the arrest and extradition of Dairo Úsuga David (alias “Otoniel”), whom Colombia’s President likened to Pablo Escobar, as well as the extradition of four individuals identified by the Attorney General as Consolidated Priority Organization Targets, the development of countless narco-terrorism cases and bilateral public corruption cases, and the arrest for extradition of a group responsible for drugging, kidnapping and robbing U.S. special forces soldiers.  Additionally, Mr. Houghton served as principal counsel to the U.S. Ambassador on all bilateral law enforcement matters, including during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am proud of Mr. Houghton’s work towards maintaining the Department’s most effective bilateral criminal justice relationship in the Western Hemisphere,” said United States Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez. “It is an honor to lead this talented team of attorneys, and Mr. Houghton’s exemplary service represents the standard of excellence our dedicated staff works every day to achieve. Mr. Houghton’s contributions have ensured that justice is never beyond our reach.”

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