Leader of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel Sentenced to 35 Years

By Dialogo
May 15, 2013

Aureliano Cano Flores, one of Mexico’s notorious Gulf Cartel leaders, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for smuggling marijuana and cocaine into the United States, the Public Prosecutor reported on May 13.

Cano Flores, aka ‘Yankee’ and ‘Yeyo,’ was given the prison term by U.S. federal judge Barbara Rothstein in Washington, D.C. for conspiracy to smuggle several tons of cocaine and marijuana from Mexico across the U.S. border, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The judge also ordered him to forfeit $15 billion obtained through drug trafficking.

Federal authorities also allege that 1,400 tons of cocaine and 8,000 tons of marijuana were smuggled into the United States by the Gulf Cartel between 2000 and 2010.

In 2011 Cano Flores, 40, was extradited from Mexico and was tried in February, where he was found guilty of conspiracy to smuggle at least five kilograms of cocaine and one ton of marihuana, the statement said.

During the trial, the Department of Justice was able to submit phone taps and the testimony of other members of the cartel, considered as one of the most powerful and violent Mexican drug organizations.

“For over a decade, Cano Flores worked with some of the most dangerous criminals in the world in order to smuggle enormous amounts of cocaine and marijuana into the United States,” prosecutor Mythili Raman said in the statement.

According to evidence submitted in the trial, Cano Flores started in the Gulf Cartel when he was a police officer in 2001, and then he became top boss in Los Guerra, a border town in the state of Tamaulipas, where he was in charge of the main influx of drugs smuggled by the criminal organization into the United States.

“As a leader” of the Gulf Cartel, he “put the lives of innocent people from both sides of the border in jeopardy,” Raman added.

The Gulf Cartel started to operate in 2000 as a 100-member organization which controlled three border towns, and after a decade it was ruling the drug trafficking routes over fifty percent of the Mexican territory, hiring about 25,000 people and resorting to murder, kidnapping, intimidation, and corruption.