Former Patriarch of the Lorenzana Drug Trafficking Organization Pleads Guilty to Drug Conspiracy Charges

Washington, DC - Waldemar Lorenzana Sr., 75, the patriarch of the Lorenzana drug trafficking organization in Guatemala, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to import over 450 kilograms of cocaine into the United States.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert W. Patterson of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Special Operations Division made the announcement.   The guilty plea was entered by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in the District of Columbia.

“For more than a decade, the Lorenzana drug trafficking operation received, stored, and transported massive quantities of cocaine for distribution in the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.   “The kingpin and patriarch of this family has now been extradited and convicted in the United States, and two of his sons are currently awaiting extradition from Guatemala.   This case once again affirms the Justice Department’s unwavering commitment to working with our international law enforcement partners to bring transnational drug traffickers, wherever they may reside, to justice for their crimes.”

“For years, members of the Lorenzana family smuggled cocaine to the United States with impunity,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Patterson.  “The indictment, extradition and conviction of Waldemar Lorenzana, and the pending extradition of other members of his family, proves once again that no one is above the law when international partners cooperate.  This investigation could never have been brought to fruition without the unwavering support of our law enforcement colleagues and is another great example of international coordination.”

According to the superseding indictment, from March 1996 to April 2009, Lorenzana Sr. and three of his sons conspired to distribute multi-ton quantities of cocaine within Guatemala and elsewhere, knowing that the narcotics would be illegally imported into the United States for distribution.   As described in further court documents, the Lorenzana drug trafficking organization worked with drug trafficking organizations in Colombia and Mexico to transport shipments of cocaine by go-fast boats and airplanes to El Salvador and Guatemala for distribution to cities within the United States.   Lorenzana Sr. was arrested by Guatemalan authorities on April 26, 2011, detained in Guatemala, and extradited to the United States in March 2014.   Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

The charges contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The investigation was led by the DEA’s 959/Bilateral Investigations Unit and Guatemala City Country Office and was part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Amanda Liskamm, Adrian Rosales and Michael Lang of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section.   The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in the extradition.   The Department expresses its gratitude and appreciation to the government of Guatemala for its assistance in this matter.

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