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Mexico extradites top cartel boss Martín Villegas Navarrete to the U.S.

March 20, 2018  |  Posted by: Michael Falzarano
Mexico extradites top cartel boss Martín Villegas Navarrete to the U.S.

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The government of Mexico has extradited Martin Villegas Navarrete, a purported top figure within the Beltran Leyva Cartel to the United States to face drug trafficking charges.

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office announced Monday the extradition of Navarrete, 41, also known as “El Elegante” to the U.S. to stand trial for a cocaine trafficking and money laundering indictment in the Federal District Court of Georgia.

U.S. Marshals flew Villegas Navarrete from Mexico City to Atlanta on March 8th.

He appeared for an arraignment hearing in Atlanta Federal Court before District Judge Linda Walker, where he pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine, along with money laundering charges, Proceso reported.

Walker ordered Villegas Navarrete held in custody without bond.

Mexican federal authorities arrested the capo in July 2015 during an operation in Mexico City.

Security forces captured the 41-year-old drug trafficker while he traveled from Acapulco to Mexico City to celebrate his birthday.

Mexico extradited Martín Villegas Navarrete, a leader of the of the Beltrán Leyva Cartel to Atlanta Georgia on March 8th to stand trial for a drug trafficking indictment. Photo: Special

Martín Villegas Navarrete reportedly assumed a leadership position within the Beltrán Leyva Cartel following the 2014 arrest of Héctor Beltrán Leyva, aka “El H.”

Mexico’s National Security Commission said Villegas Navarrete controlled drug trafficking routes in Guerrero, Morelos, and Mexico City.

Federal prosecutors say since 2008, Villegas oversaw the transfer of drug shipments, mainly cocaine from Central and South America to the states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and across the southeastern United States.

U.S. authorities in 2008 and 2009 seized over 150 kilograms of cocaine and confiscated more than $13 million in drug proceeds allegedly belonging to Villegas Navarrete.

Officials said the cartel boss used illicit funds to purchase warehouses in Mexico City’s central wholesale market district and businesses in Acapulco to launder drug proceeds.

Villegas Navarrete is scheduled to appear back in court on March 23rd.

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