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Suspected Guatemalan trafficker extradited to U.S

(Reuters) - A Guatemalan accused of being a top drug trafficker in Central America aligned with Mexico's deadly Zetas gang appeared in a U.S. court Tuesday after being extradited to the United States, authorities said.

Horst Overdick, 45, was arrested in Guatemala in April on charges that he conspired to import cocaine into the United States.

Overdick, nicknamed "The Tiger," was extradited Monday and arraigned Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson in New York, U.S. authorities said. Overdick pleaded not guilty, said Bill Clay, his U.S. lawyer.

"We're turning our attention to preparing for trial," Clay said.

Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez has said Overdick was the most important connection in Guatemala for the Zetas, a violent drug cartel founded by deserters from the Mexican army.

An indictment issued by a U.S. grand jury in January and unsealed in April charged Overdick with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine, knowing it would be sent to the United States.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for February 13.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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