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The mystery of the missing extradited capos of the Sinaloa Cartel

March 13, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
The mystery of the missing extradited capos of the Sinaloa Cartel

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The recent extradition of Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzman has opened a new chapter in the history of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, the world’s most powerful drug trafficking organization.

Some the group’s most emblematic members including ‘El Chapo’ remain imprisoned in the United States.

However, a mystery gravitates over these captives because no one either knows or wants to say where some of the highest-ranking drug traffickers are held captive, no matter how many years they were sentenced, of if they were ever sentenced.

The strangest fact is that the mystery only applies with hoods that at one time belonged to the Sinaloa Cartel because drug traffickers from other criminal organizations are easily located within the U.S. Federal Prison system.

However, for some of the senior Sinaloa cartel figures who remain in the possession of the United States government, their location remains unknown, as does the state of their judicial process.

A report by Riodoce highlights a long list Sinaloa Cartel capos, which began with Javier Torres Felix, who after serving an eight-year sentence in a U.S. prison, was repatriated back to Mexico in April 2013.

Torres Felix was followed by the extraditions of Hector Guero Palma, Zambada Reinaldo Garcia, El Rey Zambada, Sandra Ávila Beltrán ‘the Queen of the Pacific,’ Vicente Zambada Niebla, and the flamboyant Rodrigo Arechiga-Gamboa, also known as ‘El Chino’ Anthrax.

Of all of the named detainees appear with their judicial files within U.S. Department of Justice’s system, each case of the defendant “remains sealed.”

From there, any information is a mystery, no one knows why the case was sealed, and which prison any of the cartel figures could be housed.

Officials either with the Justice Department, U.S. Marshals, U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP), or the DEA remain tight-lipped on the whereabouts of the Sinaloa cartel bosses.

Riodoce sent a written request through the Freedom of Information Access Act (FIOA), for information regarding these cases, taking as an argument “that they were cases of public interest,” but the response from the US government was that they were “unable to provide information about individuals because their privacy is violated.”

Information for Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzman remains in abundance, which includes his next preliminary hearing scheduled for May 10th, and the charges he faces in a 17-count indictment out of Brooklyn Federal District Court.

Here is a list detailing the status of each inmate including Guzman:

Joaquín Guzmán Loera

Location: Metropolitan Correctional Center

Release Date: No trial start date yet.

Next appearance: May 10, 2017

Since last January 19, when he was extradited, El Chapo is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, located in downtown Manhattan.

His case is filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn. ‘El Chapo’ has pleaded not guilty per recommendations of his advocate Michelle Gelernt, a lawyer appointed by the state of New York to the accused organized crime leader.

Guzmán Loera stands accused of drug trafficking, money laundering, first-degree murder and criminal association as the leader of the Sinaloa Federation Cartel.

Vicente Zambada Niebla

Alias: ‘El Vicentillo’

Location: Unknown

Release Date: It is unknown if he is free or in prison.

Next appearance: Sealed Case

Criminal Organization: The Sinaloa Cartel

Vicente Zambada Niebla is the son of Mexican drug lord Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada, Guzman’s longtime partner, who oversaw logistics for the Sinaloa Cartel.

‘El Vicentillo,’ who was extradited in February 2010, is the only capo that made the entire U.S. judicial system tremble following his transfer to the U.S.

In the prelude to his trial in Chicago Federal Court, attorneys for the cartel prince put forth notions that he maintained an immunity deal with United States government in exchange for cooperation against rival drug cartels.

Zambada Niebla ultimately warned if the agreement was not respected, he would reveal information and witnesses who could corroborate evidence proving the DEA had an agreement in place with senior leadership figures within the Sinaloa Cartel, which allowed the trafficking of narcotics into the U.S. in return for information against rival drug cartels.

The case was postponed for more than four years until Zambada-Niebla abruptly changed direction and pleaded guilty.

At the time, Judge Ruben Castillo stated he would issue sentencing in the coming months, but a hearing was never discussed, and the case was finally sealed.

Federal law enforcement sources have privately conceded Zambada Niebla has since joined the Federal Witness Protection, but was never officially confirmed by the United States government.

Alfredo Beltrán Leyva

Alias: El Mochomo or Desert Ant

Location: Unknown

Release Date: Remains unknown if he is free or in prison.

Next appearance: Sealed case.

Criminal Organization: The Sinaloa Federation Cartel/ Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO)

After fighting tooth and nail against charges in an indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, ‘El Mochomo’ pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and conspiracy in 2016, in which he proceeded to blame his late brother Arturo Beltran Leyva, the alleged head of the BLO, while maintaining that he “only obeyed orders”.

Beltran Leyva had remained at a federal facility in Washington DC. However, after pleading guilty, a judge postponed his sentencing and his case was sealed. Nothing has since been heard of one of the most emblematic leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Like Zambada Niebla, his status and location remain unknown.

Miguel Ángel Caro Quintero

Location: Victorville Medium II

Release Date: October 12, 2019

Criminal Organization: The Guadalajara Cartel

For a long time, the location of the brother of legendary drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero remained a mystery. Documents indicated that he was in a Memphis prison and others located him in Arizona until federal officials said Victorville California. However, no one can say if this is true since there were versions that the minor Caro Quintero would have joined the program of Protected Witnesses. His release is close, and so far it is unknown if he has outstanding accounts with the Mexican government, as the PGR has omitted to talk about this case.

Rodrigo Aréchiga Gamboa

Alias: ‘El Chino’ Antrax

Location: Unknown

Release Date: It is unknown if he is free or in prison.

Next Appearance: Sealed case.

Criminal Organization: The Sinaloa Cartel

‘El Chino’ Anthrax was a top lieutenant for ‘El Mayo’ Zambada and leader of the assassins group known as Los Antrax. Aréchiga Gamboa was arrested on December 31, 2013, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. On July 10, 2014, Aréchiga Gamboa was extradited to the United States. He later pleaded guilty in 2015 in San Diego Federal Court before disappearing from the U.S. Prison system. Like other capos who belonged to the Sinaloa cartel, he is believed to have joined the Federal Witness Protection program.

Serafín Zambada Ortiz

Location: Unknown

Release Date: It is unknown if he is free or in prison.

Next appearance: Sealed case.

Criminal Organization: The Sinaloa Cartel

The U.S.-born son of ‘El Mayo’ Zambada is another mystery, because unlike the other capos, he was never extradited, but was arrested while trying to cross from Mexico to the United States.

Originally he was imprisoned in the maximum security prison Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in San Diego, but just when he pleaded guilty, he no longer appeared in the U.S. prison system. Most experts have speculated that he had joined the Federal Witness Protection Program.

His case remains sealed.

Reynaldo Zambada García

Location: Unknown

Alias: ‘El Rey’

Release Date: Unknown

Next appearance: Sealed case.

Criminal Organization: The Sinaloa Cartel

Zambada-Garcia is the brother of Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada.

At some point, the DEA said he was the chief coordinator of narcotics trafficking through the Mexico City International Airport, on behalf of his brother, but after pleading guilty, the case has since remained sealed.

He had been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, the same facility currently housing Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, but suddenly disappeared from the U.S. prison system and officials have remained silent on his case.

Some content published from a report by Riodoce and translated by JammedUp News

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