Photo: Esteban Rodriguez-Olivera with DEA Agents
A Mexican national believed to be one of the leaders of the “Los Gueros” international drug organization appeared in federal court this week to face drug trafficking charges, following an investigation by federal law enforcement agencies including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Esteban Rodriguez-Olivera, 47, was extradited from Mexico to the United States in March, 2011.
The U.S. government designated the defendant and his brother Luis Rodriguez-Olivera “drug kingpins,” adding them to the list of the world’s most significant narcotics traffickers and money launderers. “Los Gueros” is part of the Sinaloa Cartel and is believed to be responsible for shipping more than 100 tons of cocaine into the United States between 1996 and 2008.
The Los Gueros’ supply route originated in Mexico, stretched into Texas, and branched off to various points within the United States, including the New York metropolitan area. The organization received multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia along the Gulf coast of Mexico, and transported drug shipments into the United States through Laredo and McAllen, Texas.
As detailed in the government’s detention letter, to minimize the chance of his detection and arrest, Rodriguez-Olivera frequently relied on his associates to communicate with other coconspirators by telephone and rarely spoke on the telephone himself. He also avoided being photographed.