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In re Extradition of Rodriguez

February 13, 2009

IN THE MATTER OF THE EXTRADITION OF WILLIAM ALCIVAR MEDINA RODRIGUEZ


The opinion of the court was delivered by: E. Thomas Boyle United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is the request of the Republic of Peru ("Peru") for the extradition of William Alcivar Medina Rodriguez ("Medina Rodriguez"), pursuant to the Extradition Treaty in place between the United States and Peru (the "Treaty"). Medina Rodriguez opposes his extradition on the grounds that the documents submitted by the government of Peru in support of its request do not establish probable cause to believe that he is the individual alleged to have committed the crimes charged in Peru. For the following reasons, Peru's request for extradition is granted.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On August 20, 2008, Medina Rodriguez was detained by United States Custom and Border Protection officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, after arriving on a flight from Ecuador. (Compl. and Aff. in Supp. of Application for Provisional Arrest and Arrest Warrant ¶ 4.) On August 21, 2008, a complaint was filed on behalf of Peru, pursuant to the Treaty, seeking the provisional arrest of Medina Rodriguez. (Id.) Medina Rodriguez was arraigned before Magistrate Judge Orenstein on August 22, 2008 and was ordered detained pending the outcome of an extradition hearing. On October 7, 2008, the Government filed the within Extradition Request with the Court. An extradition hearing was held before the undersigned on January 23, 2009.

THE CRIMINAL CHARGES

Peru seeks the extradition of Medina Rodriguez to face charges of illegal drug trafficking, in violation of Articles 296 and 297 of the Peruvian Criminal Code. (Extradition Request 26.)*fn1 Specifically, Medina Rodriguez is accused of masterminding and participating in an international narcotics smuggling conspiracy through the use of what are commonly referred to as "drug couriers" or "mules." (Id. 26-27.) Medina Rodriguez is alleged to have delivered approximately 2.558 kilograms of cocaine to three Guatemalan nationals, Emilio Santizo Guzman ("Guzman"), Eliza Sarai Hoajaca ("Hoajaca"), and Lorena Santizo Rosales ("Rosales") (collectively, the "couriers"), for the purpose of transporting drugs to Madrid, Spain. (Id.) The three couriers were allegedly recruited in Guatemala and transported to Peru for the purpose of transporting drugs. (Id. 27.) Medina Rodriguez is alleged to have met Guzman, Hoajaca and Rosales upon their arrival in Lima, Peru and provided them with housing accommodations and instructions concerning the transportation of the cocaine to Spain. (Id. 27.)

On March 19, 2005, Guzman, Hoajaca and Rosales were detained by Peruvian police at the Jorge Chavez International Airport as they were about to travel to Spain. (Id. 27.) Drugs were confiscated from the three couriers and they were arrested and subsequently convicted in Peru. (Id. 27.)

THE PROFFERED EVIDENCE

In support of its request, Peru has submitted the witness statements from Guzman, Hoajaca and Rosales, as well as a copy of Medina Rodriguez's photographic identification card from the Republic of Ecuador, which card was found in Medina Rodriguez's possession when he was arrested in New York in August 2008.

A. Guzman's Statement

Guzman provided a sworn statement to the Peruvian court on April 2, 2005.

(Extradition Request 47.) Guzman testified that he was recruited to travel from Guatemala to Peru, along with his daughter, Rosales, and his common law wife, Hoajaca, by a woman named "Vicky," to work in a textile factory making clothes for a period of three months. (Id. 47-49.) Vicky provided Guzman, Rosales and Hoajaca with airline tickets to Peru and money to obtain passports. (Id.)

Guzman, Rosales and Hoajaca traveled to Peru on March 4, 2005 and were met by two unknown individuals who transported them to a hotel. (Id. 48.) On March 5, 2005, a man named "William" and a woman named "Roxana" picked the three couriers up from the hotel, tore up their employment contracts and smiled, informing them that they had been recruited to transport drugs to Spain and not for employment purposes. (Id.) Guzman testified that he initially refused but that he was forced to transport the drugs under threats of harm to his family. (Id.) Guzman also testified that he identified "William" as the same man in a photograph shown to him by the Peruvian police. (Id.)

Guzman, Rosales and Hoajaca stayed at boarding houses during their time in Peru and were eventually taken to William and Roxana's apartment, where Guzman ingested ninety-nine capsules containing drugs. (Id. 48-49.) The next day, March 19, 2005, the three couriers ...


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