Leaders of Mexican drug cartel indicted for importing heroin to Atlanta

Powdered heroin is pictured in this undated photograph (DEA)

Two leaders of the La Nueva Familia Michoacana drug cartel -- Rodolfo Maldonado-Bustos, a.k.a. "Don Jose," and Euclides Camacho-Goicochea, a.k.a. "El Quilles" --  have been charged by a federal grand jury for importing heroin from Mexico to Atlanta, according to United States Attorney Ryan Buchanan for the Northern District of Georgia.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) also announced financial sanctions against them. Both individuals are believed to be fugitives residing in Mexico.

According to the investigation initiated by the DEA and IRS-CI in September 2016, members of the Mexico-based La Nueva Familia Michoacana cartel, including Maldonado-Bustos and Camacho-Goicochea, were allegedly involved in importing heroin, cocaine, and marijuana into the United States.

The investigation identified Maldonado-Bustos as a high-level cartel member who allegedly coordinated the production of heroin in Mexico and supplied it to Camacho-Goicochea and others for distribution in cities like Atlanta and Houston, Texas. The investigation also revealed that Camacho-Goicochea allegedly managed the collection and return of drug proceeds from the United States to Mexico. In early 2017, agents seized over $580,000 in drug proceeds destined for the cartel.

The federal indictments against Maldonado-Bustos and Camacho-Goicochea were returned in August 2017 and recently unsealed. Camacho-Goicochea faces an additional charge of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

This case is being investigated by the DEA and IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebeca Ojeda is prosecuting the case, with contributions from Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel Milam and Nicholas Hartigan, now with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative. The David G. Wilhelm Atlanta OCDETF Strike Force targets major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations in the Atlanta metropolitan area and the Northern District of Georgia. The Strike Force includes agents and officers from multiple federal, state, and local agencies, and the prosecution is led by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

The public is reminded that the indictments only contain charges, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.