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Eastern District of Texas Case: Former Guatemalan Congressman Guilty for Drug Trafficking

Former Guatemalan congressman, Jose Armando Ubico Aguilar, has pleaded guilty to participating in an international drug trafficking conspiracy, as announced by U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs of the Eastern District of Texas. Aguilar, aged 45, who previously held senior positions within the Republic of Guatemala's government, entered his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson on May 1, 2024, after arriving in the United States from Central America earlier in the week.

Court documents revealed that Aguilar served as a member of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala from 2016 to 2024, and also held the position of President of the National Defense Committee from 2018 to 2023. Despite his entrusted roles in combating drug trafficking and ensuring national security, Aguilar admitted to collaborating with known drug traffickers and corrupt officials.

According to U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs, Aguilar's actions betrayed the trust placed in him by his country, highlighting the cooperation of foreign law enforcement partners in bringing him to justice. DEA Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez emphasized the significance of Aguilar's arrest in dismantling transnational criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking.

Aguilar was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas on March 3, 2021, for his involvement in drug trafficking. During his plea hearing, he confessed to relaying drug-related information and U.S. currency to another Guatemalan official on behalf of an international drug trafficker, resulting in the safe passage of at least 450 kilograms of cocaine through Guatemala for distribution in the United States.

Aguilar faces a potential sentence of 10 years to life in federal prison, with the court to determine the final sentencing based on advisory guidelines and statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled following a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

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