Los Angeles, California - A dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, and the former State Attorney General for the State of Nayarit, Mexico, was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release, following his guilty plea to an international heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana manufacture and distribution conspiracy.
Edgar Veytia, 48, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon, who also ordered Veytia to forfeit $1 million, following a conspiracy charge relating to a scheme to import illegal drugs from Mexico to the United States.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue of the Eastern District of New York; Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New York Division; Special Agent in Charge David J. Downing of DEA Los Angeles Division; Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno of the FBI’s Washington D.C. Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York Field Office made the announcement.
As established at the defendant’s sentencing, U.S. law enforcement has been investigating a violent Mexican drug trafficking organization, known as the H-2 Cartel that was previously lead by Juan Francisco Patron Sanchez, also known as “H-2,” and was based in Nayarit and Sinaloa, Mexico. The H-2 Cartel had numerous distribution cells in the United States, including in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Ohio, Minnesota, North Carolina and New York. The government estimates that, during the relevant time period of the conspiracy, the H-2 Cartel distributed on a monthly basis approximately 500 kilograms of heroin, 100 kilograms of cocaine, 200 kilograms of methamphetamine and 3,000 kilograms of marijuana and earned millions of dollars in illegal proceeds. Additionally, the H-2 Cartel was involved in the possession and use of firearms, and substantial violence, including torture and dozens of homicides.
Between January 2013 and February 2017, the defendant conspired with the H-2 Cartel to distribute thousands of kilograms of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, from Mexico into the United States, and distributed those narcotics in the New York area, including in the Eastern District of New York. Veytia used his position as the top law enforcement officer in his region to assist and abet drug trafficking organizations in Mexico. Veytia received bribes on a monthly basis and provided official sanction for the H-2 Cartel to engage in drug trafficking in Nayarit. Vetyia directed other corrupt Mexican law enforcement officers he oversaw to assist the H-2 Cartel, released members and associates of the H-2 Cartel from prison after they had been arrested for drug trafficking-related crimes, instructed corrupt Mexican law enforcement officers to target rival drug traffickers in Nayarit for wiretaps and arrests and assisted the H-2 Cartel with murders and other acts of violence, all of which helped the H-2 Cartel’s illegal drug enterprise flourish.
The DEA, FBI and HSI as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigated the case. 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. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
The Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section of the United States Attorneys with the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section of the Department of Justice are handling the government’s case. Trial Attorneys Jason Ruiz and Anthony Aminoff of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael P. Robotti, Craig R. Heeren and Ryan C. Harris of the Eastern District of New York are prosecuting the case.