A Mexican national pleaded guilty Nov. 6 to charges of conspiring to import narcotics into the United States. This plea is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), with the assistance of the Internal Revenue Service.
Esteban Rodriguez-Olivera, 48, a Mexican national who was extradited to the Eastern District of New York March 11, 2011, is one of two brothers who were the leaders of “Los Gueros,” an international drug organization responsible for shipping more than 100 tons of cocaine to the United States. Rodriguez-Olivera also pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges that were originally pending in the District of Columbia.
In 2007, the U.S. Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force designated the defendant and his brother, Luis Rodriguez-Olivera, drug kingpins, adding them to the list of the world’s most significant narcotics traffickers and money launderers. Los Gueros’ supply route originated in Mexico, stretched into Texas, and branched off to various points within the United States, including the New York City metropolitan area. The organization received multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia along the Gulf Coast of Mexico, and transported drug shipments into the United States through Laredo and McAllen, Texas.
For the period of 1996 to 2008, Los Gueros imported over 100,000 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S., and the DEA estimates that between 2004 and 2006, the organization was responsible for shipping truckloads containing over 2,000 kilograms (two tons) of cocaine to New York City alone. As part of the investigation, in October 2004, HSI special agents seized approximately 156 kilograms of cocaine hidden in one of the organization’s tractor-trailers; in 2005, HSI special agents seized approximately $2.1 million in drug proceeds bound for the organization in Mexico; and in January 2006, Mexican authorities seized approximately 5.2 tons of the organization’s cocaine destined for the United States.
Rodriguez-Olivera faces life in prison and forfeiture of $50 million.