Guatemalan cartel boss goes to US prison for smuggling multi-ton shipments of cocaine

By Gangsters Inc. Editors

A high-level drug cartel boss from Guatemala was sentenced on January 27 to over 17 years in federal prison. 51-year-old William “Humilde” Estuardo Lemus-Lara was identified as the leader of a transcontinental criminal organization that moved multi-ton quantities of cocaine from South America via maritime smuggling routes to Guatemala and ultimately to associates in northwest Guatemala and Mexico, who in turn imported that cocaine into the United States.

Lemus-Lara was the head of the organization, and despite the best efforts of the United States to stymie his cocaine operation, he was a prolific trafficker. As the government described in its sentencing papers, a five-day snapshot of his operation gave unparalleled insight into Lemus-Lara’s cocaine trafficking prowess.

All in a week’s work

During a five-day span in May 2017, Lemus-Lara coordinated and oversaw a smuggling venture involving four cocaine-laden vessels. Through this investigation, three of those vessels were interdicted by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Guatemala FEN, which is Guatemala’s Naval Special Forces.  The vessels had between 810-914 kilograms of cocaine each.  A fourth boat made it through and delivered 814 kilograms of cocaine to Lemus-Lara and his organization.

Lemus-Lara was targeted as part of a long-term joint investigation led by Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The investigation has led to the indictment and extradition of several high-level South and Central American drug traffickers, including several, like Lemus-Lara, from Guatemala.

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