May 13, 2021

Postponement of the sentence of former Guatemalan Mario Estrada for February

The hearing in which a sentence for drug trafficking crimes would be imposed on the former deputy and former candidate for the Presidency of Guatemala Mario Estrada Orellana, scheduled for Friday in a federal court in New York, was postponed to February 10, the Prosecutor’s Office informed Efe.

Estrada, who aspired to the Presidency for the National Change Union (UCN, right) in last year’s elections, had originally pleaded not guilty, but then changed position and pleaded guilty in October last year.

Initially, federal judge Jeb Rakoff, who presides over his case, was scheduled to give his sentence this Friday.

The Guatemalan faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

When pleading guilty, Estrada avoided facing trial, but also seeks a reduction of sentence, in previous agreement with the Prosecutor, although the final decision is always in the hands of the judge.

Estrada was arrested in April 2019 in Miami (Florida, USA) along with Juan Pablo González Mayorga and both were accused of conspiring to export cocaine to this country, as well as conspiring to use and possess rifles.

According to the accusatory document, the DEA, the US drug agency, has been investigating several individuals since December 2018 for attempting to request money from drug cartels to support Estrada’s presidential campaign.

The accusation also claimed that during some of these negotiations, which took place in Guatemala and Florida in 2019, members of that group, including Estrada and González, interacted with alleged members and associates of the Sinaloa Cartel, a powerful international drug trafficking organization from Mexico, which really were confidential sources of the DEA.

During the course of these meetings and other communications, some of which were recorded on video and audio, Estrada and González allegedly asked the Sinaloa Cartel for millions of dollars from the sale of drugs to support the presidential campaign.

In return, it is alleged, they agreed that if Estrada won the presidential elections in Guatemala, it would provide state support for the drug trafficking activities of the Mexican cartel.

In addition, according to documents published by the Southern District Court of New York during the course of the judicial process, Estrada would have planned to kill his political rival and former attorney general Thelma Aldana.


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