The accusations? That he’d helped pump cocaine into Texas and worked closely with an armed guerrilla group in Colombia.
More than two years after Luargas-Garcia was convicted, U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant this week dealt the Guatemalan citizen a life sentence in federal prison.
Luargas-Garcia “was a prolific drug trafficker, responsible for the trafficking of large amounts of cocaine to drug cartels and guerrilla fighters in Central and South America,” the Department of Justice said in a press release.
He also threatened to kill a federal prosecutor, the feds added.
Federal investigators worked with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office and Guatemala’s public ministry to build the case against Luargas-Garcia.
According to federal authorities, Luargas-Garcia had worked closely with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which was founded in 1964 as a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary group but morphed into a drug trafficking outfit to fund its armed warfare against the Colombian government.
“Today, Mr. Luargas-Garcia is being held responsible for actions he took thousands of miles away that have a direct impact on our neighborhoods and our families,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez said in the DOJ press release.
"Today, Mr. Luargas-Garcia is being held responsible for actions he took thousands of miles away that have a direct impact on our neighborhoods and our families." - Eduardo A. Chávez, DEA
“Criminals who attempt to broker and facilitate cocaine shipments into the United States will meet swift justice through DEA Dallas’ tireless efforts to dismantle these Transnational Criminal Organizations across the world,” Chávez added.
Dubbed "Operation Black Sails," the investigation also included agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI and others.
Luargas-Garcia isn’t the only Latin American drug boss to get extradited to Texas and locked up in recent months. In August, a 37-year-old Colombian man named Manuel Camilo Renteria Lemus received a 30-year prison sentence charges related to cocaine shipments in eastern Texas.
Following Luargas-Garcia’s sentencing, Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei insisted that federal authorities in East Texas “will continue to be aggressive in its efforts to extradite and prosecute international drug traffickers and to stop their deadly shipments from ever making it to American shores.”
The DOJ added that, even once he was behind bars, Luargas-Garcia continued to coordinate drug shipments in the U.S.
“Fellow inmates helped to facilitate Luargas-Garcia’s drug operation by smuggling cell phones and other contraband into the jail facilities,” the release explained.