Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DEA arrests Guerreros Unidos drug cartel operatives, in major trafficking ring with Chicago connection

Guadalajara -
A key operative of Mexico's Guerreros Unidos drug cartel has been arrested by U.S. Drug Enforcement agents in Oklahoma, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois announced today.

Pablo Vega Cuevas, 40, and his brother-in-law, Alexander Figueroa, 37, were taken into custody yesterday morning at an undisclosed location in southeast Oklahoma.

Three other men were arrested in the Chicago area, while another three suspects are still being sought. One may have returned to Mexico.

All are charged in a 133 page federal Criminal Complaint (below).

The Guerreros Unidos cartel is one of Mexico's most notorious criminal organizations. Some of its members - including corrupt police officers on the payroll - are accused of kidnapping 43 teachers' college students in Iguala, Guerrero on Sept. 26, and brutally executing them within hours, according to state and federal officials in this country. All hope fades for families of 43 missing students.

Mexico's attorney general claims the kidnappings were ordered by the former mayor of Iguala and his wife, both of whom worked with the cartel. Their motive was to avoid the disruption of a local political event scheduled for that evening. The students came from a school with a long history of aggressive protests, which often terminated in street violence. "Mary of the Angels" and her husband, "brains" behind Iguala executions, kidnappings.

On Oct. 20 a prominent Mexican priest alleged the 43 college students had been "burned alive."

Cuevas and others are accused by the DEA of importing almost 170 pounds of cocaine and heroin into the U.S. in passenger buses. The drugs were delivered to Guerreros Unidos affiliates in Aurora and Batavia, Illinois, both near the Chicago metropolitan area.

The defendants have been under investigation since August 21, 2013, the U.S. Attorney said. More than $500,000 in cash has been seized in several drug busts connected to the organization since then, according to federal officials.

A U.S. Justice Department press release said:

"This operation strikes at a major Mexican drug trafficking organization that is alleged to have routinely distributed large quantities of heroin and cocaine throughout the Midwest. These arrests will have a significant impact on the supply and distribution of heroin and cocaine in the Chicago area."

Cuevas, alleged to be a drug wholesaler who supplied clandestine narcotics warehouses throughout the midwestern United States, sent the proceeds back to Guerreros Unidos cartel bosses in Mexico, according to the Complaint.

Cuevas and Figueroa are in custody awaiting a detention hearing before a U.S. Magistrate. They are unlikely to be granted bail.

In November Mexico's Secretary of Defense concluded that Guerreros Unidos is one of several organized crime groups which have essentially taken over more than 75% of the state's counties, where bitter rivalries are played out daily on increasingly violent streets. Control of Guerrero hotly disputed by six major drug cartels, and many local gangs.

Guerrero's tourism dependent economy, and particularly that of Acapulco, have been decimated in recent years as a result.

The Iguala student massacres
Oct. 6, 2014 - Guerrero prosecutor: Iguala student protesters were killed by cartel executioners
Oct. 18, 2014 - Arrest of Guerreros Unidos boss brings few answers in case of missing students
Dec. 8, 2014 - Remains of student victim ID'd by foreign forensic experts

Related content
Feb. 11, 2013 - The Chicago Connection: Sinaloa Cartel moves cocaine from Windy City to Australia
Feb. 14, 2013 - Chicago calls El Chapo Guzmán "Public Enemy # 1"

© MGR 2014. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced or rewritten without permission.

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