Honduran National Indicted for International Cocaine Trafficking Extradited from Honduras to the United States
Department of Justice Press Release Number: 22-1106
An indictment was unsealed today charging Norlan Jose Carrasco Lopez, aka Catracho, a Honduran national, with international cocaine trafficking. He is scheduled to appear in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Oct. 17.
According to court documents, between September 2018 and June 2021, Carrasco Lopez, 54, was allegedly a member of an international drug trafficking organization responsible for importing large quantities of cocaine from Venezuela to Belize aboard U.S.-registered aircraft. Foreign law enforcement seized a shipment of more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine that had been transported on a U.S.-registered aircraft allegedly coordinated by Carrasco Lopez and his co-conspirators.
A grand jury in the District of Columbia returned an indictment against Carrasco Lopez on June 28, 2021. In June 2022, Carrasco Lopez was arrested by Honduran authorities, pursuant to a provisional arrest requested by the United States, and he remained detained in Honduras pending his extradition. He was extradited from Honduras to the United States on Oct. 13.
Carrasco Lopez is charged with one count of conspiracy to possess five kilograms or more of cocaine on board an aircraft registered in the United States with intent to distribute and one count of distribution of a controlled substance on board an aircraft registered in the United States. If convicted of either count, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Orlando District Office is investigating with assistance from the DEA Honduras and Belize Country Offices, and Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) Orlando District Office.
Trial Attorneys Douglas Meisel and Robert Sainvil of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS) are prosecuting the case. Former NDDS Trial Attorney Michael Christin, now with the Criminal Division’s Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section, assisted with the prosecution. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided valuable assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Carrasco Lopez. The Criminal Division’s Office of Enforcement Operations and the Belize law enforcement also provided significant assistance.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.