Juárez Cartel leader sentenced to prison for drug trafficking

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, announced that Luis Carlos Vásquez-Barragán, 51, of Nicolás Bravo, Chihuahua, Mexico, was sentenced to prison for possession with intent to distribute at least 50 kilograms but less than 100 kilograms of marijuana.

Vásquez-Barragán was arrested in Mexico in 2010 and extradited to the United States in 2020. He pleaded guilty on May 13, 2022. In his plea agreement, Vásquez-Barragán admitted that between March 2005 and September 2008 he imported at least 50 kilograms of marijuana into the United States on several occasions, totaling over 1,000 kilograms. Six of those shipments were seized by law enforcement in the District of New Mexico, totaling over 965 kilograms, as well as $302,507 in U.S. currency.

On Oct. 17, the court sentenced Vásquez-Barragán to 17 years and one month in prison. On Oct. 27, an addendum to the plea agreement was filed acknowledging that Vásquez-Barragán already had served nine years, five months and seven days of incarceration in Mexico on a related case while awaiting extradition to the United States. Pursuant to the addendum to the plea agreement, the Court imposed a sentence of seven years and seven months in prison, beginning from the date of his extradition to the United States.

The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated this case as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Green Reaper investigation with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) and the Mexican Federal Police. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with USMS and law enforcement partners in Mexico to secure the arrest and extradition of Vásquez-Barragán to the United States. Assistant United States Attorneys Elaine Ramirez, Steve Kotz and Sean Sullivan and U.S. Attorney Uballez prosecuted the case.

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