GUATEMALA: SUSPECTED LEADER (Adalberto Fructuoso Comparan Rodríguez, aka: El Fruto) OF MEXICAN NARCO CARTEL UNIDOS ARRESTED on a formal USA extradition request for his alleged involvement in international drug trafficking
Adalberto Fructuoso Comparan Rodríguez (aka: El Fruto)
On Tuesday afternoon, authorities in Guatemala arrested Mexican national Adalberto Fructuoso Comparan Rodríguez (alias ‘El Fruto’), former mayor of Aguililla, Michoacan, and suspected leader of Cárteles Unidos (‘United Cartels’). The arrest was made on a formal US extradition request for his alleged involvement in international drug trafficking.
The Guatemalan Public Ministry (MP) detailed in a press release that El Fruto was arrested in a residential area of Guatemala City along with Alfonso Rustrián, another Mexican national wanted in the US for drug charges.
According to US authorities, the two Mexicans are accused of drug trafficking, specifically conspiracy to smuggle and with intent to distribute 500 grams of methamphetamine into the US. They are wanted by the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Both of them were detected in Guatemala by US officials following an investigation that showed that El Fruto held several meetings in Colombia with other high-ranking cartel members.
The two Mexicans will appear in the following hours before a Guatemalan judge who will decide in a matter of days or weeks if their extradition to Florida becomes effective.
During the first three months of 2020, 16 people with an extradition order from the US government have been arrested in Guatemala. Most of them are wanted for drug trafficking.
El Fruto, 57, was mayor of Aguililla, Michoacan, from 2008 to 2010, under the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).
He is currently the suspected leader of Carteles Unidos, a criminal group made up of different cartels under a loose alliance. They are rival to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
Prior to El Fruto’s involvement with Carteles Unidos, he was a high-ranking member of the Knights Templar Cartel. One of the cited sources say he was a close associate of Servando Gomez Martinez (alias ‘La Tuta’), former Knights Templar Cartel boss.
He is suspected of coordinating methamphetamine and heroin shipments from Michoacan, Mexico, to the US cities like Houston, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia.
In 2015, he survived an assassination attempt in Mexico, but one his bodyguard Jose Luis Garcia Mendoza was killed. Two years prior, he had served as police officer in the Fuerza Rural (Rural Force) unit in Aguililla. This rural police force was a state-sanctioned unit that was born from the autodefensa (self-defense) groups that were active in Michoacan.
USA DOJ ANNOUNCEMENT: Leader of Mexico’s United Cartels and Others Charged in South Florida Federal Court with Importing Over 1100 Pounds of Crystal Methamphetamine
Miami, Florida – South Florida federal prosecutors have charged the leader of a notorious Mexican drug cartel and five others for their alleged roles in importing into the United States over 500 kilograms (over 1100 pounds) of Mexican methamphetamine. In the largest methamphetamine seizure in Miami-Dade County history, law enforcement agents seized the over 1100 pounds of crystal meth before it ever hit the streets.
The defendants are charged in two separate complaints with drug conspiracy, drug trafficking, drug importation, and other crimes. One complaint charges Adalberto Fructuoso Comparan-Rodriguez, a/k/a “Fruto,”57, who is the former mayor of Aguililla, Mexico and, according to the allegations, the leader of the United Cartels in Michoacán, Mexico, with drug trafficking crimes. It also charges Alfonso Rustrian, 34, of Mexico, as a coconspirator. See Case No. 21-mj-2570. Both Comparan-Rodriguez and Rustrian were arrested in Guatemala on March 30, 2021, at the request of the United States.
A second criminal complaint charges another four defendants for their roles in the alleged methamphetamine scheme: Adalberto Fructose Comparan-Bedolla, 31 (the son of Comparan-Rodriguez), Carlos Basauri-Coto, 31, Silviano Gonzalez-Aguilar, 44, and Salvador Valdez, 34. See Case No. 21-mj-2614. Law enforcement officers arrested these four defendants in Miami on March 30, 2021. They have made their initial appearances and are scheduled for detention hearings in federal magistrate court in Miami on April 7, 2021.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Keith Weis, Special Agent in Charge, DEA, Miami Field Division, made the announcement.
“These significant arrests and drug seizures of crystal methamphetamine should serve notice that the United States, working hand-in-hand with our international partners, will not stop until drug traffickers at the highest levels are brought to justice,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Juan Antonio Gonzalez. “We will continue to work with our foreign and domestic partners to keep these poisonous substances from reaching our streets.”
“As the threat of methamphetamine continues to grow in Florida, this was yet another brazen attempt by a highly organized and dangerous foreign criminal group to set up a significant methamphetamine pipeline from Mexico directly into the Miami Metro Area.” said DEA’s Miami Field Division Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis. “Fortunately, our dedicated foreign and domestic investigators and prosecutors from numerous agencies, interdicted this effort by making record seizures of an extremely hazardous narcotic while simultaneously removing the primary leadership.”
According to the criminal complaint affidavits, in January 2021, Comparan-Rodriguez and Rustrian met in Cali, Colombia with a person they believed to be a money launderer and drug trafficker associated with Hezbollah (“purported drug buyer”). Rustrian explained that Comparan-Rodriguez was a leader of the United Cartels, and that they could supply hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine to the purported drug buyer, say the affidavits. They ultimately agreed that Comparan-Rodriguez and Rustrian would send 500 kilograms of methamphetamine from Mexico, through Texas, to the Miami area, according to the charges.
To make the methamphetamine undetectable, members of the methamphetamine organization hid it inside different materials. On March 20, 2021, according to the allegations, a truck carrying concrete tiles filled with methamphetamine arrived in Miami. It is alleged that Comparan-Bedolla helped crack the concrete tiles open and remove approximately 200 kilograms of methamphetamine from them. The rest of the meth (over 300 kilograms) arrived in Miami on March 26, 2021, say the court documents. This time, it was dissolved within five-gallon buckets of house paint. According to the allegations, Comparan-Bedolla and two chemists (Gonzalez-Aguilar and Valdez) worked for days inside a warehouse, extracting pure crystal methamphetamine from the paint. Law enforcement agents seized the meth before it hit the streets and made arrests.
Also according to the charging documents, throughout the conspiracy, defendant Basauri-Coto was in charge of laundering the methamphetamine sales proceeds for the organization. Basauri-Coto proposed laundering the money through two of his companies and flying out over $4,000,000 in cash via private jet, say the charging documents. It is alleged that on March 30, 2021, soon before his arrest, Basauri-Coto accepted a suitcase full of cash for this purpose.
A criminal complaint merely contains allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Acting U.S. Attorney Gonzalez commends the DEA for their investigative efforts. He also commends the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs along with the DEA Mexico City, Guatemala City, and Bogota Country Offices; Hialeah Police Department; Hialeah Gardens Police Department; City of Miami Police Department; Aventura Police Department; Miami Beach Police Department; Miami-Dade County Police Department; and Miramar Police Department for their assistance in this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederic “Fritz” Shadley of the International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section in the Southern District of Florida is prosecuting the case.
This investigation and prosecution was carried out by members of the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force. The South Florida HIDTA, established in 1990, is made up of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who, cooperatively, target the region’s drug-trafficking and money laundering organizations. The South Florida HIDTA is funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which sponsors a variety of initiatives focused on the nation’s illicit drug trafficking threats.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case numbers 21-mj-2570 and 21-mj-2614.
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