Leaders of Honduran Drug Cartel Face Federal Drug and Money Laundering Charges in the Eastern District of Virginia
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Miguel Arnulfo Valle Valle, 42 and his brother, Luis Alonso Valle Valle, 45, both Honduran nationals, were extradited yesterday from Honduras to face federal criminal charges in the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Florida. On June 19, 2014, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned a superseding indictment charging the brothers and 13 other individuals with committing drug and money laundering crimes from 2005 through June 2014.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Karl C. Colder, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Field Division; and Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the defendants’ initial appearance before U.S. District Judge Ivan Davis.
“As leaders of one of the world’s largest drug trafficking organizations, the Valle Valle brothers are responsible for importing tons of cocaine into the United States each year,” said U.S. Attorney Boente. “Their arrest and extradition is the result of terrific work by our investigating agencies and respective federal governments. I would like to thank the President of the Honduran Republic, Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado, for the assistance and cooperation of the Honduran government during this investigation.”
“The success of this international investigation is a great example of coordination and cooperation between the DEA, FBI, Virginia State Police, and the Government of Honduras” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Colder. “We look forward to the continued bilateral cooperation in addressing the significant threat of these international drug trafficking organizations.”
“The arrest and extradition of these Honduran drug kingpins is a major step in the international cooperation to combat international narcotics traffickers,” said Assistant Director in Charge McCabe. “Special agents and intelligence analysts at the FBI Washington Field Office in coordination with DEA, Fairfax County Police Department and our counterparts in Honduras worked diligently to investigate this case and bring these two to the United States to face justice.”
Both defendants face a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
According to court documents, the defendants lead one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in Honduras, the “VALLE DTO”, responsible for the importation and distribution of multi-ton quantities of cocaine into the United States, valued at millions of dollars. Honduras is a major transit country for Colombian cocaine and other controlled substances. The VALLE DTO is based in Copan, located in the northwest region of the country along the border of Guatemala. The defendants worked with other members of their organization to transport cocaine from Honduras through Guatemala to Mexico, and into the United States. Additionally, members of the VALLE DTO sent smaller quantities of cocaine directly into the Eastern District of Virginia, and other parts of the United States, using human couriers.
Drug proceeds were laundered from the United States and elsewhere to members of the VALLE DTO in Honduras through wire transfers, bulk cash payments, and deposits into Honduran banking institutions. The VALLE DTO relied on violence and public corruption to further the objectives of the organization.
On August 20, 2014, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the VALLE DTO, or the “Los Valles Drug Trafficking Organization,” and the defendants individually, under the Kingpin Act as significant foreign narcotics traffickers.
This case was investigated by the DEA, FBI Washington Field Office, Fairfax County Police Department, and the Virginia State Police as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation “Javelin.” The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.
Mr. Boente would like thank the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice; the FBI’s Washington Field Office; the DEA’s Tegucigalpa Country Office in Tegucigalpa, Honduras; the Fairfax County Police Department; and the Virginia State Police for their efforts in the investigation.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-135.