U.S.: Sinaloa Leader Pleaded Guilty to Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering

Published: 24 February 2017

San Ysidro Port of Entry SENTRIHuerta-Tizoc was arrested at the San Ysidro, California Port of Entry (Photo: EasySentri, CC BY-SA 4.0)

By Karina Shedrofsky

A leader of the Sinaloa Cartel pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering in United States federal court on Thursday, admitting he was responsible for moving tons of narcotics and millions of dollars between the U.S. and Mexico, authorities said.

Jaime Huerta-Tizoc, 41, was charged in a sealed indictment last August, and was arrested at a California Port of Entry last December as he attempted to enter into the U.S., according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The Sinaloa cartel is considered to be the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world and was run by drug kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman.

"Any day a Sinaloa cartel leader is no longer free to bring ton quantities of life-crushing drugs to our communities is a good day," said Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson. "As long as people are dying from overdoses and lives are being destroyed by illicit drugs, we will pursue the cartels."

Huerta-Tizoc admitted that, as a high-level leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, his primary responsibility was transporting large quantities of cocaine and marijuana from Mexico into the United States. He said he used a fleet of tractor-trailers to transport the drugs. He also admitted to transporting millions of dollars in proceeds from the United States back to Mexico.

As part of the plea agreement, Huerta-Tizoc agreed to forfeit US$ 2 million as "proceeds of the conspiracy," the statement said.