Mexican state prosecutor held on drug charges in NYC case

AP News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2017 6:52 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The attorney general for the western Mexican state of Nayarit will remain behind bars in San Diego until a hearing to determine if U.S. authorities can move him to New York City to face drug trafficking charges.

Edgar Veytia made a brief appearance Thursday in federal court in San Diego, where he was ordered held without bail.

Veytia, 46, was arrested earlier this week after U.S. border agents stopped him and ran his name as he tried to enter the United States from Mexico, said his California lawyer, Guadalupe Valencia. They discovered there was an arrest warrant for a sealed indictment in federal court in Brooklyn, he said.

U.S. officials said Veytia came under suspicion during an investigation of the Beltran Leyva organization, a onetime faction of drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinoloa cartel that broke off and feuded with Guzman.

One of the organization's leaders, Alfredo "Mochomo" Beltran Leyva, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in February in a Washington, D.C., court to charges his multibillion-dollar operation smuggled tons of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States.

The Brooklyn indictment, which was unsealed Tuesday, charges Veytia with conspiracy to smuggle cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine to the United States from January 2013 to last month. Guzman is being prosecuted in the same court following his extradition from Mexico in January.

"We have to give him the presumption of innocence like anyone else," Valencia said.

Veytia's next court appearance is set for April 6.