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Dominican drug trafficker sentenced to 16 years in prison

NEW YORK – A citizen of the Dominican Republic was sentenced Friday to 200 months in prison for his participation in a drug trafficking operation. A case initiated in 2006 revealed the organization used corrupt longshoremen to smuggle more than 150 kilograms of cocaine from Ecuador into the United States through New York. The sentencing was a result of the investigation titled Operation Dockside led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Westchester Regional Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Assistance was provided by Interpol and the Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs.

According to the indictment and other documents filed in this and related cases, Omar Adonis Guzman-Martinez, 39, was a member of a violent, international cocaine trafficking organization that had ties to Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and the United States.  With the assistance of corrupt longshoremen in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and the New York Container Terminal in Staten Island, traffickers smuggled approximately 550 kilograms of cocaine into the United States by commingling it with legitimate cargo shipments bound for New York from Ecuador.

After Guzman-Martinez was indicted in early 2008, he evaded arrest in the Dominican Republic.  After a year-and-a-half long pursuit, he was located and arrested in Venezuela.

In late August 2010, Guzman-Martinez was expelled from Venezuela and transported to the United States. He pleaded guilty in May 2011 to one count of conspiring to distribute narcotics and one count of witness tampering.

In addition to his prison term, Guzman-Martinez was sentenced to five years of supervised release. 

Fourteen defendants were arrested in connection with Operation Dockside, all of whom have pleaded guilty.

During the course of the investigation, federal agents seized over 215 kilograms of cocaine and ordered more than $1 million forfeited from the defendants. In addition, one defendant was ordered to forfeit his liquor store.