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Narcotics
05/05/2020

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International narcotics trafficker extradited to New York for prosecution

International narcotics trafficker extradited to New York for prosecution

NEW YORK – A Dominican man was extradited to New York Monday for allegedly conspiring to transport over 100 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. Following an investigation by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York, Melvin Martinez, 38, was arraigned Tuesday in the Eastern District of New York on an international cocaine distribution conspiracy charge. Martinez, also known as “La Fuerza” and “Yo Mismo,” was arrested in the Dominican Republic in January 2020 and was held pending extradition.

“When Martinez was arrested in the Dominican Republic in January, HSI and its law enforcement partners dealt a blow to his cocaine trafficking enterprise. His extradition is a major step forward after the detrimental impact Martinez’ organization had on the people of the United States and the greater New York City region,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, special agent in charge, HSI New York. “Through this multi-year, complex investigation, HSI New York and our partners at the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, have proceeded in bringing the full force of the American Justice system to combat Martinez and his organization.”

“As alleged, the defendant operated the levers of a cocaine pipeline from abroad, but not beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement committed to bringing international drug traffickers to justice for the harm they have caused in our communities,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.

According to court filings, between January 2015 and April 2015, Martinez and other members of an international cocaine trafficking conspiracy organized shipments of cocaine in Venezuela, Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic for the purpose of importing the cocaine into the United States for distribution. In one instance, Martinez coordinated a 188 kilogram shipment of cocaine on a commercial airline flight from Venezuela to the Dominican Republic. In February 2015, law enforcement authorities in the Dominican Republic seized the cocaine from this flight at the airport in Santo Domingo.

The charge in the indictment is an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Martinez faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. The government’s case is being handled by EDNY’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs assisted with the extradition of the defendant.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/06/2020