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Top Sinaloa Cartel operative charged with massive cocaine trafficking conspiracy in El Paso Federal Court

June 19, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Top Sinaloa Cartel operative charged with massive cocaine trafficking conspiracy in El Paso Federal Court Photo: DEA

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On Friday, top Sinaloa Cartel operative Arturo Urquidi appeared in federal court in El Paso, Texas.

The 47-year-old Urquidi was extradited to the U.S. from Mexico for smuggling “massive amounts” of marijuana and cocaine into the U.S.

“These are terrible people and deserve to be in prison because they have caused enormous amounts of death and suffering,” Josiah Heyman, the director for Inter-America and Border Studies at the University of Texas-El Paso, told KVIA.

In a statement, the DOJ revealed that Arturo Urquidi has been charged with one count of conspiracy to conduct affairs through racketeering activity (RICO conspiracy).

He has also been charged with one count each of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute five kilos or more of cocaine and 1,000 kilos or more of marijuana, conspiracy to import five kilos or more of cocaine and 1,000 kilos or more of marijuana, conspiring to commit money laundering, and conspiring to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.

The indictment alleged that Urquidi was responsible for the unloading and loading of cocaine, drug profits, and weapons in Sinaloa Cartel warehouses in Juarez.

“The Sinaloa Cartel was terrible,” Heyman stated. “The organization had thousands of people’s blood on their hands, but I have to say that it is not the only threat there.”

Authorities said that Urquidi was one of two dozen high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel figures, including the likes Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who was indicted on charges of federal racketeering charges back in 2012.

The station asked how putting men like Urquidi in prison impacts the cartels.

“The tactics of the U.S. and the Mexican government, which has been to knock-off the heads of the cartels to identify, capture them, put them on trial and imprison them has resulted in shattering cartels into competing pieces,” Heyman stated, adding the apprehensions produce instability among the criminal groups.

“What we are doing is taking out pieces of organizations, then they are going to jostle and kill people and move into that position to fill that demand,” Heyman added.

Juarez has seen an increase in violence after reporting over 700 murder last year. Heyman said officials should focus on the enterprise instead of individuals.

“The bigger issue is gun, drugs, and money,” Heyman continued. “When we start to talk about taking down the business then we will shrink the demand.”

Urquidi is set to appear in court on June 19th for an arraignment and detention hearing.

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