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High-ranking cartel boss who controlled Sonora drug routes pleads guilty in San Diego

January 30, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
High-ranking cartel boss who controlled Sonora drug routes pleads guilty in San Diego Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad

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Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad, one of the highest-ranking drug cartel members in Mexico pleaded guilty in San Diego Federal Court to planning the trafficking of hundreds of kilos of drugs into the United States and laundering thousands of dollars in illicit money.

Quintero Navidad, who is also known as “El Cadete,” is the cousin of fugitive drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero, who is reportedly responsible in the slaying of U.S. DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena.

Officials said 36-year-old Quintero Navidad, of Mexico City, was a former member of the Sinaloa cartel and close to associate to tp boss Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia. However, territorial disputes eventually led to him to join the Beltran Leyva Organization.

He was promoted to regional leader also known as “plaza boss” for a faction operating in the state of Sonora., After a string of homicides in 2012, his name started to appear on banners claiming responsibility for the violence in Hermosillo, Agua Prieta, and Nogales.

Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad is the nephew of legendary drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero (above)

As the plaza leader, Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad ordered ton quantities of cocaine from Guatemala and Bolivia to be smuggled through Mexico via controlled trafficking routes into the U.S.

The agency identified him in 2014 as a “special designated narcotics trafficker” under the Kingpin Act, which forbids U.S. citizens and businesses from financial transactions with him and also freezes his assets in the United States.

He was apprehended in October at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

On Thursday, he entered a guilty plea to all charges against him, which include distribution and importation conspiracy charges of cocaine and heroin, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The probe was carried by U.S. Homeland Security and the DEA in the Imperial Valley.

“Quintero Navidad’s plea sends a message to other drug kingpins operating in Mexico,” U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman stated. “There is no place to hide because our team will work tirelessly to hunt you down to face justice.”

Braverman added: “Our investigation and prosecution of other high-level cartel members is continuing and is having an impact on the operations of drug cartels.”

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