The Chicago Syndicate: Gulf Cartel
Showing posts with label Gulf Cartel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gulf Cartel. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Son of Gulf Cartel boss arrested in ammo-smuggling case

The son of one of the biggest Mexican drug lords to ever face justice in the United States has been arrested for allegedly trying to sneak military-grade ammunition south of the border.

Osiel Cardenas Jr., known as "Mini Osiel," appeared before a federal magistrate in Brownsville this week following his arrest by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

He is charged with attempting to smuggle almost 500 rifle bullets and "tactical weapons gear" in his black 2015 Cadillac Escalade. He was allegedly driving the luxury sport utility vehicle toward an international bridge that spans the Rio Grande and connects Brownsville with the Mexican city of Matamoros when he was stopped by the U.S. officers spot-checking traffic leaving the country, according to an affidavit filed in federal court to support his arrest.

Cardenas, who is a U.S. citizen, admitted that he knew about the bullets and that he was trying to smuggle them into Mexico, contends the federal agent who signed the affidavit.

Most ammunition and firearms are illegal for civilians in Mexico, but they are prized by organized-crime groups there who for years have been battling each other and government security forces. Texas, with its high concentration of gun stores, has been described by U.S. federal authorities as a steady ready source of Mexico's illegal weaponry.

His father, Osiel Cardenas, 47, was convicted in Houston in 2009 on an array of drug trafficking and money laundering charges in connection with being the chief leader of the Gulf Cartel. He is locked up in the so-called Supermax prison in Colorado, which is also home to such inmates as "Unabomber" Theodore "Ted" Kaczynski and Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols.

The younger Cardenas now faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted, but would likely get far less time than that.

His lawyer, who also represented his father, did not respond to a request for comment. His next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday, when Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya III is to decide if Cardenas should be temporarily released on bail pending trial.

His arrest marks perhaps the first time his name has been made public in connection with an international crime, but he is known by U.S. law enforcement officers to be trying to follow in this father's footsteps, said Mike Vigil, retired chief of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"He is what is referred to in Mexico as a narco junior," said Vigil, who is the author of "DEAL," a memoir of his 31-year career with the agency. "He has enlisted other narco juniors," as the adult children of drug traffickers are known,"to go along with him, and he loves to emulate his father," Vigil said. "He likes to drive around Matamoros and that area with an entourage like his father used to do."

The younger man's cousin, Rafael Cardenas, 41, was convicted in 2012 in Brownsville for being one of the cartel's new leaders and got 20 years. Osiel Cardenas Jr.'s uncle, Antonio Cardenas, was killed in 2010 a gun battle with the Mexican military.

The ammunition seized Friday in Brownsville is just a drop compared to the 26,157 rounds of ammunition seized last year in South Texas by Customs and Border Protection. "A lot of that is military grade ammunition," Vigil said. "He was certainly not taking that ammunition back to hunt deer or elk, but human beings."

Thanks to Dane Schiller.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gulf Cartel Leader Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez Arrested

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced the arrest of current Gulf Cartel leader Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez, 23, of Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on Oct. 9, 2014 while shopping in Edinburg, Texas. Saenz-Tamez made an initial appearance in the Eastern District of Texas on drug trafficking charges.

“Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez became the head of the Gulf Cartel following the 2013 arrest of former leader Mario Ramirez-Trevino,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “He moved steadily up the cartel ranks, working as a lookout, record keeper, plaza boss, and finally its leader. Thanks to the quick actions of DEA and our local partners, we were able to identify and safely arrest Saenz-Tamez while he was in the United States. He oversaw much of the violence and bloodshed that has plagued Mexico and DEA is pleased he will face justice in the United States.”

A federal investigation into the large-scale trafficking of illegal drugs from Mexico into the Eastern District of Texas led to the identity of Saenz-Tamez. The investigation revealed thousands of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana were shipped into the Eastern District of Texas and then to locations across the nation, including Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Maryland and Georgia.

Saenz-Tamez was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 5, 2013 and charged with conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy with intent to distribute marijuana, and conspiracy to money launder. Saenz-Tamez was transported from McAllen, Texas to Beaumont where he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn for a detention hearing and initial appearance.

If convicted, Saenz-Tamez faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison for the drug charges and up to 20 years in federal prison for the money laundering charge.

"The news that Juan Saenz-Tamez has been arrested is further proof that justice is prevailing in Mexico,” said U.S. Attorney John M. Bales. “I am encouraged that the efforts of so many law enforcement officers are now paying off. Congratulations to them and I look forward to seeing Saenz-Tamez answer for his crimes in a Beaumont courtroom."


“The arrest of Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez, will put a stop to his role in the distribution of illegal drugs and the laundering of drug proceeds,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cruz. “Laundering their profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the distribution of their illegal drugs. IRS CI is proud to provide assistance as we work alongside our law enforcement partners to bring these criminals to justice."

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