Washington, DC - A Mexican national had his initial appearance in federal court in the District of Columbia Friday on charges related to his alleged involvement in a criminal conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), made the announcement.

Gerardo Gonzalez Valencia, aka “Lalo,” 43, arrived at Dulles International Airport  Thursday evening after being extradited from Uruguay, where he was arrested in April 2016.  The indictment charges Gonzalez Valencia with an international conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine, intending and knowing that those substances would be unlawfully imported into the United States.  The indictment alleges that Gonzalez Valencia’s criminal conspiracy ran from 2003 to 2016.

“The Department of Justice will never waver in our commitment to disrupt and dismantle CJNG and its enablers, wherever they are found,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski.  “Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our law enforcement partners in Uruguay, Valencia Gonzalez now will be held to account in the United States for his alleged crimes.”

“Today’s extradition and arrest of Mr. Gonzalez-Valencia deals another blow to the leadership of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion,” said DEA Acting Administrator Dhillon. “Mr. Gonzalez-Valencia is alleged to have distributed significant quantities of cocaine and meth and will now face justice in the United States.  We are grateful for the outstanding partnership with the National Police and Government of Uruguay during this long term investigation.”

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by DEA Los Angeles.  Trial Attorneys Brett Reynolds, Kaitlin Sahni, Cole Radovich, Kate Naseef and Acting Deputy Chief Anthony Nardozzi of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section are prosecuting the case.

The Justice Department extends its gratitude to the government of Uruguay for making the extradition possible and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) for its support.  The Criminal Division’s Office of Enforcement Operations provided assistance in support of this investigation and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in securing the defendant’s extradition from Uruguay.