Lethbridge Man Extradited for role in Cartel Cocaine Importation

Lethbridge Man Extradited for role in Cartel Cocaine Importation

January 16, 2015

Lethbridge… Hector Armondo Chavez has been extradited to the United States for his role in a cocaine importation investigation between Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT), Lethbridge Regional Police Service, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Chavez, a 28-year-old Mexican national who resided in Lethbridge, was handed over to U.S. Marshalls in Calgary on January 15 and boarded a flight to Colorado. Chavez has been wanted by the DEA in Colorado since 2010 for drug trafficking charges.

Chavez was indicted, along with six others, in 2010 for the importation of cocaine from Mexico.  The cocaine was brought to Colorado, where it was then later sent to Canada. 

The investigation dates back to April 30, 2010 when Calvin Wayne Skidmore of Coalhurst, Alta. was arrested at the Del Bonita Port of Entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. A search of his vehicle yielded 46 packages of cocaine, equating to 16.5 kilograms, concealed in hidden compartments.

In addition to Chavez, two others named in the indictment, Mexican nationals Martin Javier Alamos-Delgado and Martin Javier Alamos-Garcia, remain fugitives in Mexico.  Defendant Javier Batista Cervantes is a Mexican national living in Lethbridge and is appealing his extradition order.  Defendant Hernandez-Renteria is deceased.  Dionisio Salgado, a U.S. citizen, pled guilty in a related case in federal court in Colorado and was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison.  Skidmore pled guilty in a related case in the District of Montana and was also sentenced to 10 years in prison.

According to the U.S. Attorney General, if convicted of conspiracy, Chavez faces not less than 10 years, and up to life in federal prison, as well as up to a $4,000,000 fine.  If convicted of two charges of using a telephone for drug trafficking, Chavez faces not more than 4 years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine, per count.

When you face federal drug trafficking charges, you can run to another country, but you can’t hide there forever,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “U.S. law enforcement, working with our international partners, can locate a defendant, as was the case with Defendant Chavez, and file extradition papers, which ultimately results in the person returning to the U.S. to resolve the indictment.”

“The extradition of Hector Armondo Chavez to the United States is an example of a commitment to international cooperation,” said DEA Denver Special Agent in Charge Barbra Roach.  “The Drug Enforcement Administration thanks the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT), Lethbridge Regional Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for their assistance in this extradition.”

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime. Members of Alberta Sheriffs, Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Regional Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP work in ALERT.