February 1, 2023

6 Mexican drug lords who were extradited to the United States

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(CNN Spanish) — Mexican drug lords are back in the spotlight due to the arrest of one of their longest-serving personalities.

This is Rafael Caro Quintero, who was arrested on July 15 by Mexican authorities. The Mexican Navy detailed in a statement that the operation to arrest him took place in the municipality of San Simón, in Sinaloa, in the west of the country. Caro Quintero was found in the bushes by a dog that was accompanying the operation.

Caro Quintero is one of the 10 most wanted people by the FBI and is known as the “narco de narcos”. Likewise, he is considered by the Mexican authorities as the founder of the Guadalajara cartel. He is accused of trafficking methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

Although an extradition order to the United States against Caro Quintero weighed, a judge suspended it after a request for protection that asked to guarantee the previous extradition procedure for the detainee before the measure is executed.

While this process unfolds, we tell you about six other drug lords who have been extradited to the US.

6 of the Mexican drug lords extradited to the United States

1. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera

They confirm the sentence against Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

“El Chapo” Guzmán, a Mexican drug trafficker who was the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, was extradited to the US in January 2017.

He was extradited to face charges related “to his leadership of the Mexican criminal organization known as the Sinaloa cartel,” the Justice Department said at the time.

In July 2019, Guzmán Loera was sentenced in the US to life in prison plus 30 years and ordered to pay US$12.6 billion in confiscation. This sentence was confirmed in January of this year by an appeals court.

2. Dámaso López Núñez, “The Bachelor”

López was extradited to the United States in July 2018. He is considered by some analysts to be the successor to “El Chapo” in the Sinaloa cartel.

“López Núñez is indicted on a single-account count alleging that, between 2003 and December 2016, López Núñez conspired with others to distribute significant quantities of narcotics for illegal importation into the United States,” detailed the Justice Department at the time.

“El Licenciado” was arrested by Mexican authorities a year earlier, in May 2017. The arrest took place in Mexico City.

3. Edgar Valdez Villarreal, “The Barbie”

Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as “La Barbie”.

Valdez Villarreal He was extradited to the United States in September 2015. The drug trafficker known as “La Barbie” has dual US and Mexican nationality, and was one of the leaders of the Beltrán Leyva cartel.

Prior to extradition, Valdez had been held in the Altiplano maximum security prison since he was captured by Mexican authorities in 2010.

The DEA said that “La Barbie” was feared for his brutality, after unleashing a bloody fight for control of cartel territories.

4. Alberto Benjamin Arellano Felix

The Mexican drug lord was extradited to the US in april 2011 on charges of extortion, money laundering and drug trafficking in the southern district of California.

In 2002, the Mexican authorities captured him and his extradition order to the United States was issued in 2007.

According to the DEA, the Arellano Félix organization, also known as the Tijuana cartel, was “one of the most brutal drug trafficking networks in the world.”

This criminal organization controlled the flow of cocaine and marijuana in the border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali (Mexico) towards the United States. Its operations also extended to Colombia.

5. Vicente Zambada Niebla, “The Prince”

Vicente Zambada Niebla, known as "Prince" for being the son of Ishmael "The May" Zambada.

Vicente Zambada Niebla, known as “El Príncipe” for being the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

Zambada Niebla was arrested in Mexico in 2009 and later extradited to the United States in February 2010 on charges of conspiracy and drug trafficking.

Vicente Zambada is the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, the leader of one of the factions of the Sinaloa cartel and for whom the United States offers a reward of up to US$15 million, according to the Department of State from USA

Zambada Niebla is one of the first incarcerated cooperating witnesses who testified against “El Chapo” Guzmán, which helped get the latter sentenced. Following his cooperation, Zambada was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2019.

US authorities cited Zambada’s “extraordinary” cooperation, saying it had “led directly and indirectly to the indictment of not dozens, but more than a hundred other people,” according to a sentencing note.

6. Alfredo Beltran Leyva, “El Mochomo”

Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, escorted by Mexican forces after his arrest in 2008 in Culiacán.

“El Mochomo”, one of the leaders of the Beltrán Leyva cartel, was arrested by Mexican authorities in January 2008 and was later extradited to the US in November 2014.

More than a year later, in February 2016, Alfredo Beltrán pleaded guilty to bringing drugs into the United States.

A federal judge in Washington sentenced the drug trafficker to life in prison in April 2017 for his involvement in international drug trafficking. In addition, he was ordered to pay $529,200,000 based on an “extremely conservative” estimate of the amount of cocaine transported by Beltrán across the border for sale in the United States.

It should be remembered that the Beltrán Leyva broke their relationship with the Sinaloa cartel in 2008, as they blamed “El Chapo” Guzmán for the arrest of “El Mochomo”.

With information from Kiarinna Parisi, Sebastián Jiménez Valencia, Sonia Moghe, Evan Perez, Alejandra Morales and María Santana.



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