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Sierra Leoneans Sent to U.S.

MANHATTAN (CN) - Defendants from Sierra Leone have been sent to the United States to face cocaine smuggling charges. Geraldo Quintana-Perez aka El Viejo and Harvey Steven Perez aka Miguel arrived in New York Wednesday after being arrested in Sierra Leone in July 2008.

It is the first-ever transfer of defendants from the government of Sierra Leone to the United States.

Quintana-Perez, 51, and Perez, 30, were arrested on Sierra Leonean charges, following the seizure of 600 kilograms of cocaine. They were tried and convicted in Sierra Leone on drug trafficking charges. The government of Sierra Leone then transferred the men to U.S. custody.

They were charged Wednesday in Federal Court of conspiracy to distribute the 600 kilos of cocaine they were busted with in Freetown on July 13, 2008.

Each defendant is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than five kilos of cocaine. They face up to life in prison if convicted.

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