Congressman Charged with International Cocaine Trafficking

Dominican Congressman Charged with International Cocaine Trafficking Arrested at Miami International Airport

Miami, FL (STL.News) Last night, federal law enforcement officers arrested a foreign elected official charged in the United States with drug trafficking, following the official’s international flight from the Dominican Republic to Miami.

Fifty-eight-year-old Miguel Andres Gutierrez Diaz, of Santiago, is an elected member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic.  According to the indictment returned by a Miami federal grand jury on March 11, 2021, from about 2014 to 2017, Congressman Gutierrez Diaz was part of a transnational drug ring that operated in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and the United States.  The federal indictment charges Gutierrez Diaz and others with three counts: conspiring to distribute cocaine, knowing that it would be imported into the United States; conspiring to import cocaine into the United States; and conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine.  If convicted, Gutierrez Diaz faces up to life imprisonment.

Gutierrez Diaz will make his initial federal court appearance today at 2:00 p.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes, who sits in Miami.

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and La Verne J. Hibbert, Acting Special Agent in Charge, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, announced the charges and arrest.

DEA Miami investigated the case, with assistance from the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, DEA Santo Domingo Country Office, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Miami Office of Field Operations.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Getchell and Ellen D’Angelo of the International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section in the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and its federal partners commend the Office of the Presidency of the Dominican Republic and the Dirección Nacional de Control de Drogas (DNCD) for their cooperation in this investigation.

This prosecution is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, and other priority transnational criminal organizations that threaten the citizens of the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence driven, multi-agency approach to combat transnational organized crime.  The OCDETF program facilitates complex, joint operations by focusing its partner agencies on priority targets, by managing and coordinating multi-agency efforts, and by leveraging intelligence across multiple investigative platforms.

An indictment merely contains allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

SOURCE: USDOJ.Today