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Eastern District Of Texas Handles International Drug Trafficking Charges

 

SHERMAN – A Guatemalan man has been extradited to the United States to face international drug trafficking charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs.

According to information presented in court, the Los Pochos drug trafficking organization (DTO), based in Guatemala and Mexico, supplies multi-ton quantities of cocaine to multiple high-level Guatemala- and Mexico-based heads of cocaine trafficking cells. The Los Pochos DTO supplies vast amounts of cocaine to Sinaloa Cartel leaders who have an existing transportation infrastructure to receive, consolidate, and transport the cocaine to markets in the United States.

Juan Jose Morales Cifuentes, 33, also known as Pancho, a leader of the Los Pochos DTO since 2019, is a Guatemala-based cocaine distributor and transportation coordinator associated with the Sinaloa Cartel and the son-in-law of deceased significant foreign narcotics trafficker Erik Salvador Suñiga Rodriguez.  Morales Cifuentes is notorious for using violence to resolve conflicts and has engaged in executions of former associates in furtherance of the Los Pochos DTO’s narcotics trafficking activities. Mexican traffickers pay taxes to Morales Cifuentes to store their narcotics in the Guatemalan border towns of Tecun Uman and San Marcos. The organization purchases approximately 4,000 kilograms of cocaine monthly, totaling approximately 48,000 kilograms yearly, and is responsible for supplying multiple high-level Guatemalan and Mexican drug traffickers, including Mexico-based cartel leaders.  Morales Cifuentes was extradited from Guatemala to the United States on May 16, 2024.

On June 15, 2023, a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas charged Morales Cifuentes with multiple crimes, including conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine, intending, knowing, and the court had reasonable cause to believe he would unlawfully import to the United States.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations threatening the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. You can find information about the OCDETF Program at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

The North Texas Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) Strike Force Group Two; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Division; the DEA’s Guatemala City Country Office and the DEA’s San Jose (Costa Rica) Country Office; the FBI’s Dallas Field Office; the Homeland Security Investigation’s Dallas and Guatemala Field Offices; the U.S. Marshals Service’s Dallas Field Office; and Customs and Border Patrol’s San Diego Field Office investigated this case.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in securing the defendant’s arrest and extradition to the United States.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Wes Wynne is prosecuting this individual.