DOJ Convicts Foreign National Over Massive Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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Cesar Gomez Almonte, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was convicted Wednesday by a federal jury over a charge of drug trafficking conspiracy, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.

Fifty-one-year-old Almonte, who also goes by the names Jhonny Gomez and Johnny Gomez, was accused by the DOJ of being a member of a “drug trafficking network” that shipped hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to the United States, a press release by the DOJ stated. (RELATED: REPORT: Sinaloa Cartel Expands Drug Pipelines To Alaska, Fueling Overdose Crisis)

Almonte was in charge of finding and purchasing the boats for these shipments, the DOJ stated. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20, 2024, and could face at the minimum a penalty of 10 years in prison, the DOJ noted. The maximum possible sentence for this crime is life in prison.

Almonte was arrested on Dec. 12, 2020, at the Miami International Airport, the DOJ said.

The judge in the case, Timothy J. Kelly, denied Almonte’s motions to dismiss the charge of drug trafficking conspiracy back in August, according to court documents obtained by CourtListener. The court document noted that one of Almonte’s motions was based on the delay between his arrest and trial. “[T]the government had proffered a valid basis for the delay and that Almonte had neither asserted his speedy-trial rights since his arrest nor articulated specific prejudice,” Kelly wrote.

The United States is currently experiencing a drug epidemic. Drug overdose is the most prevalent cause of injury-related deaths in the country and overdose-related deaths are increasing in the United States, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control reported. Drug deaths involving the use of stimulants, like cocaine, were responsible for taking 32,537 American lives in 2021, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported.

Customs and Border Protection officers seized over $3.5 million worth in cocaine from one tractor-trailer back in Nov. 3.