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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Beltran Veyva Drug Cartel Kingpin Extradited to United States from Mexico

One of the alleged leaders of the Beltran Leyva Organization, a Mexican drug-trafficking cartel responsible for importing multi-ton quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States, was extradited to the United States from Mexico on Nov. 15, 2014, and made an initial appearance yesterday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay of the District of Columbia.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Director Joseph S. Campbell of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, New York Division Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) made the announcement.

“Over the past two decades, the Beltran Leyva Cartel has distributed tens of thousands of kilograms of dangerous narcotics and engaged in a campaign of violence that sparked drug wars and jeopardized public safety across North America,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “Today’s extradition of alleged kingpin Alfredo Beltran Leyva is an important step toward stamping out an organization that has ruined the lives of so many.  The Justice Department is committed to working with our international partners to bring the rest of the organization to justice.”

“The arrest and extradition of Alfredo Beltran Leyva represents a significant milestone in combating transnational criminal organizations,” said FBI Assistant Director Campbell.  “It is through collaborative efforts with our law enforcement partners that the United States will stem the tide of this continuing threat.”

“For years Alfredo Beltran Leyva, along with his brothers, was responsible for not only smuggling tons of cocaine to the United States, but also for the violence that has plagued the lives of Mexican citizens,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Hunt.  “His extradition to the United States is an example of a commitment to international cooperation and the rule of law.”

“The illegal drugs distributed throughout the United States by the Beltran Levya Cartel ruined countless lives in this country and sowed violence and chaos throughout Mexico,” said HSI Executive Associate Director Edge.  “The arrest and extradition of Alfredo Beltran Levya to face justice here for his crimes is a great victory for ICE HSI and our partner agencies.”

Alfredo Beltran Levya, 43, was indicted on Aug. 24, 2012, for international narcotics trafficking conspiracy in connection with his leadership role in theinternational drug-trafficking cartel bearing his family name.

According to a motion for pretrial detention filed by prosecutors, between the early 1990s until his January 2008 arrest by Mexican law enforcement, Beltran Levya allegedly led the Beltran Levya Organization with his brothers Hector Beltran Levya and Arturo Beltran Levya, the latter of whom was killed in a December 2009 shootout with the Mexican army.  Since the 1990s, the Beltran Levya Organization, together with the Sinaloa Cartel, allegedly directed a large-scale drug transportation network, shipping multi-ton quantities of cocaine from South America, through Central America and Mexico, and finally into the United States via land, air and sea.  The organization also employed “sicarios,” or hitmen, who allegedly carried out hundreds of acts of violence, including murders, kidnappings, tortures and violent collections of drug debts, at the direction of the organization.

Following the January 2008 arrest of  Alfredo Beltran Leyva by Mexican law enforcement authorities, the Beltran Leyva Organization severed its relationship with the Sinaloa Cartel, which was blamed for the arrest.  This resulted in a violent war between the two drug cartels, and the murder of thousands of citizens in Mexico, including numerous law enforcement officers and officials.

On May 30, 2008, the President added the Beltran Leyva Organization to the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.  On Aug. 20, 2009, the President specifically designated Beltran Leyva as a specially designated drug trafficker under the same Kingpin Act.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sinaloa Cartel Member, Rafael Humberto Celaya Valenzuela, Found Guilty of Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

Rafael Humberto Celaya Valenzuela, 41, formerly of Sonora, Mexico, was convicted following a jury trial of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, announced United States Attorney John P. Kacavas.

Celaya Valenzuela and his co-conspirators were members of the Sinaloa drug cartel, led by represented the Sinaloa Cartel, led by the notorious drug lord Joaquin Guzman-Loera, also known as “Chapo.” The cartel was seeking new cocaine distribution routes from South America to Europe, Canada, and the United States. Beginning in early 2010 and continuing through August 2012, undercover FBI agents posing as members of a European organized crime syndicate met with the cartel representatives. Many of the meetings were audio and video recorded and portions of those recordings were played for the jury. The recordings showed Celaya Valenzuela and several co-conspirators attending meetings in Miami, Boston, Madrid, Spain, and in Portsmouth and New Castle, New Hampshire.

Celaya Valenzuela held himself out as an attorney and financial planner working on behalf of Chapo and the cartel. Manuel Gutierrez Guzman, a co-conspirator and first cousin of Chapo, held himself out as his cousin’s representative in the negotiations. The cartel representatives offered to deliver thousands of kilograms of cocaine by containerized cargo vessels to various ports on the northeastern seaboard of the United States and in Europe. They further represented that the cocaine would come from any number of source countries, including Bolivia, Panama, Belize and Columbia. The deal was consummated by a face-to-face meeting with Chapo in the mountains of his home state of Sinaloa and several telephone calls in which he himself discussed details of the intended shipments.

On July 27, 2012, the conspirators delivered 346 kilograms of cocaine, more than 750 pounds worth millions of dollars, to a port in Algeciras, Spain. The cocaine was shipped via cargo container in boxes that purportedly held glassware. The FBI seized the cocaine, and on August 7, 2012, arrested Celaya Valenzuela, Gutierrez Guzman, Samuel Zazueta Valenzuela and Jesus Palazuelos Soto in Madrid. The defendants were then extradited to New Hampshire.

Manuel Gutierrez Guzman, Samuel Zazueta Valenzuela and Jesus Palazuelos Soto pleaded guilty before trial. A sentencing hearing for Soto is scheduled for December 22, 2014. Sentencing hearings for Manuel Gutierrez Guzman and Samuel Zazueta Valenzuela are scheduled for January 15, 2015. Celaya Valenzuela’s sentencing is scheduled for January 22, 2015. All the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The cartel’s leader, Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman-Loera, was arrested by Mexican authorities in February, 2014. He is under indictment in multiple jurisdictions in the United States, including the District of New Hampshire.

United States Attorney John P. Kacavas said, “Today’s guilty verdict, together with the guilty pleas of the defendant’s co-conspirators, demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to disrupting and dismantling international drug trafficking organizations wherever they seek to peddle their poison. Whether along our southwest border, in major American cities, or in bucolic New Hampshire, we will use every law enforcement and prosecutorial tool at our disposal to bring international drug traffickers to justice. I want to thank our federal law enforcement partners, especially the FBI agents who went undercover at significant risk to their personal safety, and the Spanish National Police for their assistance in foiling this far-reaching scheme.”

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Full Details on Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, of the #SinaloaCartel, Guilty Plea and Cooperation with US Feds

A high-level member of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico pleaded guilty a year ago to participating in a vast narcotics trafficking conspiracy and is cooperating with the United States, federal law enforcement officials announced.  A written plea agreement with the defendant, Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, was made public in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Zambada-Niebla, 39, pleaded guilty on April 3, 2013, before U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo.  Zambada-Niebla was arrested in Mexico in 2009, and he was extradited to the United States in February 2010.

Zambada-Niebla remains in U.S. custody and no sentencing date has been set.  Under the plea agreement, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison¸ a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, and a maximum fine of $4 million.  If the government determines at the time of sentencing that Zambada-Niebla has continued to provide full and truthful cooperation, as required by the plea agreement, the government will move to depart below the anticipated advisory federal sentencing guideline of life imprisonment.  In addition, Zambada-Niebla agreed not to contest a forfeiture judgment of more than $1.37 billion.

“This guilty plea is a testament to the tireless determination of the leadership and special agents of DEA’s Chicago office to hold accountable those individuals at the highest levels of the drug trafficking cartels who are responsible for flooding Chicago with cocaine and heroin and reaping the profits,” said Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.  Mr. Fardon announced the guilty plea with Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Zambada-Niebla pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute multiple kilograms of cocaine and heroin between 2005 and 2008.  More specifically, the plea agreement describes the distribution of multiple tons of cocaine, often involving hundreds of kilograms at a time on a monthly, if not weekly, basis between 2005 and 2008.  The guilty plea means that there will be no trial for Zambada-Niebla, whose case was severed from that of his co-defendants.  Among his co-defendants are his father, Ismael Zambada-Garcia, also known as “Mayo,” and Joaquin Guzman-Loera, also known as “Chapo,” both alleged leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel.  Zambada-Garcia is a fugitive believed to be in Mexico, and Guzman-Loera is in Mexican custody after being arrested this past February.

Zambada-Niebla admitted that between May 2005 and December 2008, he was a high-level member of the Sinaloa Cartel and was responsible for many aspects of its drug trafficking operations, “both independently and as a trusted lieutenant for his father,” for whom he acted as a surrogate and logistical coordinator, the plea agreement states.  Zambada-Niebla admitted he was aware that his father was among the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel since the 1970s and their principal livelihood was derived from their sale of narcotics in the United States.

Zambada-Niebla admitted that he participated in coordinating the importation of multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Central and South American countries, including Colombia and Panama, into the interior of Mexico, and facilitated the transportation and storage of these shipments within Mexico.  The cartel used various means of transportation, including private aircraft, submarines and other submersible and semi-submersible vessels, container ships, go-fast boats, fishing vessels, buses, rail cars, tractor-trailers, and automobiles.

Zambada-Niebla “subsequently assisted in coordinating the delivery of cocaine to wholesale distributors in Mexico, knowing that these distributors would in turn smuggle multi-ton quantities of cocaine, generally in shipments of hundreds of kilograms at a time, as well as on at least one occasion, multi-kilogram quantities of heroin, from Mexico across the United States border, and then into and throughout the United States, including Chicago,” according to the plea agreement.

On most occasions, the Sinaloa Cartel supplied this cocaine and heroin to wholesalers on consignment, including to cooperating co-defendants Pedro and Margarito Flores, whom Zambada-Niebla knew distributed multi-ton quantities of cocaine and multi-kilogram quantities of heroin in Chicago, and in turn sent payment to Zambada-Niebla and other cartel leaders.  Zambada-Niebla also admitted being aware of, and directly participating in, transporting large quantities of narcotics cash proceeds from the U.S. to Mexico.

Zambada-Niebla also admitted that he and his father, as well as other members of the Sinaloa Cartel, “were protected by the ubiquitous presence of weapons,” and that he had “constant bodyguards who possessed numerous military-caliber weapons.”  Zambada-Niebla also admitted that he was aware that the cartel used violence and made credible threats of violence to rival cartels and to law enforcement in Mexico to facilitate its business.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control Continues to Target #SinaloaCartel with Support from DEA

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) reported the designation of Jose Guadalupe Tapia Quintero, a Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico based senior lieutenant of the Sinaloa Cartel.  Jose Guadalupe Tapia Quintero was designated for his role in the drug trafficking activities of Ismael "Mayo" Zambada Garcia and for playing a significant role in international drug trafficking.

"DEA and its OFAC partners will not allow these dangerous cartels and their associates to exploit the U.S. financial system," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman.  "We're relentlessly following the financial trail to deprive these traffickers of their assets, draining the lifeblood from their criminal enterprises."

Tapia Quintero oversees the transportation of cocaine and marijuana for the Zambada Garcia drug trafficking organization and is responsible for coordinating the purchase and transportation of cocaine and methamphetamine from Sinaloa into the U.S., specifically Arizona and California, on a monthly basis.  Tapia Quintero also transports methamphetamine on behalf of a drug trafficking cell affiliated with Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman Loera from Sinaloa to Tijuana, Baja California via tractor trailers.  The President identified Joaquin Guzman Loera, Ismael Zambada Garcia, and the Sinaloa Cartel as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act in 2001, 2002 and 2009, respectively.

Pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), this designation generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with Tapia Quintero, and also freezes any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

"We will continue to target all aspects of the narcotics trade," said Treasury's Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Adam J. Szubin.  "Our actions will focus on their financial nerve points as well as the underlying logistics which are essential to their day to day operations such as the transportation network that we are taking action against today."

This action would not have been possible without the support of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), specifically the Phoenix Field Division, and the multi-agency OCDETF Strike Force.

Since June 2000, the President has identified 103 drug kingpins, and OFAC has designated more than 1300 entities and individuals, pursuant to the Kingpin Act. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.


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