Notorious Mexican Drug Cartel Los Zetas Leaders Indicted by US Justice Department
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
The following is based on reports and documents obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
While most of the news media concentrated on health care reform and President Obama’s gaff regarding his college professor friend and a Cambridge cop, the Departments of Justice’s coordinated actions against the Gulf Cartel/Los Zetas drug trafficking organization, now known as the â€œCompany,â€ resulted in a number of indictments of the gang’s leaders.
One of those charged, Miguel Trevino-Morales, is a principal leader of Los Zetas, originally a security force used by the Gulf Cartel. The Zetas, whose origin includes former members of the Air Mobile Special Forces Group of the Mexican military, have evolved into not only a security force but a drug trafficking organization in their own right.
Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas-Guillen, Jorge Eduardo Costilla-Sanchez, Heriberto Lazcano-Lazcano and Miguel Trevino-Morales, high-level Mexican leaders of the Company and 15 of their top lieutenants, have been charged in U.S. federal courts with drug trafficking-related crimes. Also today, the State Department announced rewards of up to $50 million, collectively, for information leading to the capture of 10 of these defendants, including the four leaders who were also specially designated as Narcotics Kingpins today by the U.S. Department of the Treasuryâ€™s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Federal prosecutors are charging Miguel Trevino-Morales with operating a continuing criminal enterprise, international cocaine distribution and firearms violations. The indictment also contains a $1 billion forfeiture
allegation. If convicted on all charges, he faces life in prison.
â€œThese indictments allege a stunning and sophisticated operation by the Company to move illegal drugs into our communities and cash back to Mexico,â€ said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer.
â€œWe have learned that the most effective way to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations is to prosecute their leaders and seize their funding. Todayâ€™s coordinated actions by the Departments of Justice, State and Treasury will serve not only to bring these individuals to justice, but also to significantly slow the flow of cash that is so vital to cartel operations. These actions are also the result of our strong partnership with Mexican
Attorney General Medina Mora, Secretary of Public Security Garcia Luna and other Mexican officials. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our brave Mexican colleagues in the fight against these destructive cartels.â€
â€œViolent drug trafficking organizations represent a threat to the health and safety of people in Mexico and the U.S.,â€ said Acting Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.
â€œThese indictments and rewards prove our commitment to disrupting the cycle of drugs and associated violence that follow the cartels wherever they operate. I am especially proud of our DEA Houston and New York Divisions, whose investigations were the thrust behind the indictments of these offenders. With the help of the public, and in close coordination with the government of Mexico, they will be brought to justice.â€
â€œFollowing on the heels of the Presidentâ€™s naming of Los Zetas as a drug kingpin organization in April, we are today targeting sanctions against four drug lords who are senior leaders in Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel,â€ said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. â€œWe remain committed to using all tools at our disposal to assist President Calderon in his courageous efforts against Mexicoâ€™s deadly narcotics cartels.â€
According to the indictment, the Company was led primarily by a governing council, or triumvirate, which consisted of Cardenas-Guillen, Costilla-Sanchez and Lazcano-Lazcano. The indictment alleges the Company has operated along the U.S./Mexico border, dividing the territory into areas known as â€œplazasâ€ and assigning each plaza region a leader known as the â€œplaza boss.â€
The superseding indictment alleges Cardenas-Guillen, Costilla-Sanchez and Lazcano-Lazcano directed the Companyâ€™s cocaine and marijuana shipments via boats, planes and cars from Colombia and Venezuela to Guatemala, as well as to various cities and â€œplazasâ€ in Mexico. From Mexico, the drugs were then shipped into cities in Texas for distribution to other cities in the United States.
The Company allegedly used sophisticated record keeping programs to track shipping, employment, payroll and payments made to law enforcement officials as well as payments received and owed. The superseding indictment alleges that the defendants discussed, among other things, supply issues, debt collection, pricing for the drugs in specific areas, bonus structures for individuals working at the â€œplazas,â€ concealment of the drugs during transportation, methods of shipment from Mexico to Texas, seizures of shipments and locations along the U.S./Mexico border where defendants allegedly believed the drugs could move more
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc.
To subscribe to Kouri’s newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write “Subcription” on the subject line.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.