The motions hearing set for this afternoon in the Zhenli Ye Gon drug-trafficking conspiracy case has been postponed until Aug. 26, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said last evening.
Sullivan cited “unforeseen circumstances” in his order pushing the hearing until next month. He said in an order that he regrets any inconvenience and “sincerely appreciates the consideration and flexibility of counsel in rescheduling this matter.”
Last month, the Justice Department moved to dismiss the single-count indictment against Ye Gon, saying there are evidentiary concerns and that, after weighing the strengths and weaknesses of the case, prosecutors concluded Ye Gon should be tried in Mexico. Mexican prosecutors have already charged Ye Gon with crimes that include drug and firearm violations.
Sullivan last month questioned the sudden move to dismiss the case, since Mexico has expressed a desire to prosecute Ye Gon for more than two years. An extradition hearing is scheduled for next month. Ye Gon’s lawyers, Manuel Retureta and A. Eduardo Balarezo, are fighting extradition. They say Ye Gon cannot get a fair trial in Mexico and that he fears for his life in that country.
The judge had planned to dismiss the indictment at today's hearing. One lingering question for the court is whether the judge will dismiss the case with prejudice, as Ye Gon's lawyers want. Government lawyers want the case dismissed without prejudice, saying that the United States will prosecute Ye Gon in the event Mexico is unable or unwilling to take the case. They also say the move to dismiss does not mean the government no longer believes Ye Gon is guilty as charged.