Reputed Honduran drug lord extradited to Miami on cocaine smuggling charges

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A reputed Latin American drug lord appeared Thursday in Miami federal court on cocaine smuggling charges after his extradition from Honduras, U.S. authorities said.

Fredy Donaldo Mármol Vallejo, 40, portrayed in news accounts as a powerful figure in Honduras, is charged with conspiring to traffic narcotics internationally, distributing cocaine with the intent of importing it into the United States and laundering the proceeds.

Mármol, along with co-defendant Michael Adolf Dixon Rivers, 53, played a central role in a narcotics network spanning Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Mexico, according to an indictment. The amount of cocaine the two Hondurans are accused of smuggling into the United States is not specified.

Mármol’s defense attorney, Juan Guillermo Diaz, declined to comment. If convicted, Mármol faces up to life in prison.

Mármol , suspected of trafficking cocaine from Colombia in fishing boats at a very young age, became one of the main leaders of the Atlantic cartel, according to published news accounts and Honduran authorities. Mármol took control of the smuggling of cocaine from Colombia to the United States via sea routes off Honduras, they say. He wielded his power in the departments of Gracias a Dios, Colón, Atlántida and Islas de la Bahía, where he owned fishing boats, cattle farms, buildings, mansions and other assets.

In August Honduran authorities arrested Mármol, and the following month the Honduran Supreme Court ordered his extradition to the United States.

In a news release, U.S. Attorney Tony Gonzalez expressed his gratitude to the government of Honduras for its assistance in securing Mármol’s arrest and extradition.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine Hernandez and Walter Norkin are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration.

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