LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special
Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States Drug
Enforcement Administration, and SALVATORE DALESSANDRO, the Acting
Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Department
of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
announced the extradition late yesterday of MANUEL CAMPAS-MEDINA,
a high-ranking member of a Mexico-based international drugtrafficking
CAMPAS-MEDINA had been in Mexican custody pending
extradition since July 2003, when “Operation Trifecta,” a
hemisphere-wide investigation conducted by the United States
Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the
Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, the United States
Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration
(“DEA”), the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and state and local law
enforcement agencies in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and
Arizona, dismantled the drug-trafficking organization. Operation
Trifecta also involved the efforts of DEA offices in Mexico City,
Hermosillo, Mexico, and Bogota, Colombia, as well as the Mexican
Attorney General’s Office and the Colombian National Police.
Over the course of the year-long investigation, a
federal grand jury in Manhattan returned seven Indictments
charging 43 individuals with narcotics trafficking and firearms
offenses; over 200 defendants were charged nationwide. Aside
from CAMPAS-MEDINA, all the other Operation Trifecta defendants
who were arrested and prosecuted in this District have been
convicted at trial or have entered guilty pleas. The defendants
have received sentences as high as 55 years’ imprisonment. In
all, Operation Trifecta resulted in the seizure of over 500
kilograms of cocaine in the New York area alone.
CAMPAS-MEDINA is alleged to have held a leadership
position in an organization which transported cocaine from Mexico
to New York in hidden compartments in vehicles. According to the
Indictment, on July 12, 2003, 56 kilograms of cocaine were
discovered concealed in a pickup truck that had been driven to
Queens by one of CAMPAS-MEDINA’s co-conspirators. Other searches
of CAMPAS-MEDINA’s co-conspirators yielded $600,000 in narcotics
proceeds and three firearms.
Mr. GARCIA praised the outstanding investigative work
of the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, which includes
agents and officers of the DEA, ICE’s New York Office, the New
York City Police Department, and the New York State Police. Mr.
GARCIA also thanked the Office of International Affairs of the
Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice, and
thanked the Mexican Attorney General’s Office and Foreign
Ministry as well as the United States Marshals Service’s Southern
District of New York and Mexico City Offices for their assistance
in the arrest and extradition of CAMPAS-MEDINA.
CAMPAS-MEDINA is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan
federal court later this week.
Operation Trifecta was led by the United States
Attorney’s Office’s International Narcotics Trafficking Unit,
which is also conducting the prosecution of CAMPAS-MEDINA.
Assistant United States Attorneys ANIRUDH BANSAL and ERIC SNYDER
are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely
accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.