Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.

Help support the publication of case reports on MoreLaw

Date: 04-06-2021

Case Style:

United States of America v. Juan Manuel Avila Meza

Case Number: 1:15-cr-00174-LGS

Judge: Lorna G. Schofield

Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (New York County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney’s Office

Defendant's Attorney:

Criminal Defense Lawyer Directory

Description: New York, New York conspiracy to import cocaine charge criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant, Juan Manuel Avila Meza, who was charged with conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States.

Defendant, a former member of the Honduran National Police, was charge with conspiring to import cocaine into the United States. A

According to the Indictment, other court filings, and statements made during court proceedings:

Between at least approximately 2004 and 2014, AVILA MEZA worked with members of a drug trafficking organization known as the Cachiros, which was a prolific and violent criminal syndicate that relied on connections to politicians, military personnel, and law enforcement to transport cocaine to, within, and from Honduras. During that time, and while AVILA MEZA was purportedly enforcing the law as a police officer and, later, an attorney, AVILA MEZA participated in the Cachiros’ criminal enterprise by engaging in drug trafficking, money laundering, sanctions evasion, and debt collection.

Beginning in about 2004, AVILA MEZA provided the Cachiros with sensitive law enforcement information to facilitate the transportation of cocaine. AVILA MEZA also assisted the Cachiros with money laundering and evasion of U.S. sanctions. In May 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) publicly identified the Cachiros as a significant foreign narcotics group pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. Nevertheless, beginning in August 2013, the defendant – as an active member of both the Honduran National Police and the Cachiros – assisted the Cachiros with an asset-based money laundering transaction related to a large piece of real estate in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

In February 2014, AVILA MEZA helped set up and attended a meeting between one of the leaders of the Cachiros and Juan Antonio Hernández Alvarado, a/k/a “Tony Hernández,” another convicted major drug trafficker who is the brother of current Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández, to discuss money laundering transactions between a Cachiros front company and the Honduran government. In June 2014, AVILA MEZA met with six other members of the Honduran National Police, Fabio Lobo Sosa, the now-convicted son of Porfirio Lobo Sosa, the Honduran president who preceded Juan Orlando Hernández, and two DEA confidential sources purporting to be members of the Sinaloa Cartel. During the meeting, AVILA MEZA led a discussion of how best to rely on the Honduran National Police to secure safe passage for a large cocaine shipment.

Six other former members of the Honduran National Police, including, among others, Victor Oswaldo Lopez Flores, Ludwig Criss Zelaya Romero, Carlos Jose Zavala Velasquez, and Carlos Alberto Valladares Garcia, were convicted in this case of firearms and/or drug trafficking offenses for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States. Each of those individuals has pled guilty in federal court, along with co-conspirator Fabio Lobo. On September 5, 2017, Lobo was sentenced to 24 years in prison; on February 6, 2018, Flores was sentenced to five years in prison; on June 27, 2018, Velasquez was sentenced to 12 years in prison; and on September 27, 2018, Garcia was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Zelaya Romero is awaiting sentencing by Judge Schofield. On October 18, 2019, Hernández Alvarado was convicted at a trial before the Honorable P. Kevin Castel of cocaine importation, weapons, and false statements offenses, and he is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Castel tomorrow.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacob Gutwillig, Matthew Laroche, Jason A. Richman, and Elinor Tarlow are in charge of the prosecution.


Outcome: ORDER AMENDING PRESENTENCE INVESTIGATION REPORT as to Juan Manuel Avila Meza: As discussed at the sentencing of Defendant Juan Manuel Avila Meza on March 29, 2021, it is hereby ORDERED that the Presentence Investigation Report dated December 26, 2020, is amended as follows: 1) Paragraph 48 shall be amended to reflect the marriage date of "November 3, 1998," instead of "November 3, 1988." 2) A copy of this Order shall be appended to all copies of the Presentence Investigation Report and made a part thereof. (Signed by Judge Lorna G. Schofield on 3/29/2021) (lnl) (Entered: 03/30/2021)


Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:


Find a Lawyer


Find a Case