Mexico cartel leader given 10 life sentences in U.S.
By Dialogo April 09, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A U.S. court on April 5 sentenced a top leader of Mexico’s Juárez cartel, who allegedly admitted a role in over 1,500 murders, to life in prison on drug trafficking and racketeering charges.
José Antonio Acosta-Hernández, 34 — alias “Diego,” “Dientón,” “Diez” and “Bablazo” — was extradited to the United States from Mexico on March 16.
U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone sentenced Acosta-Hernández to seven concurrent life terms, three additional consecutive life terms and 20 years in federal prison.
He pleaded guilty in an El Paso, Texas court to four counts of racketeering, narcotics trafficking and money laundering, the Justice Department said.
Acosta-Hernández also pleaded guilty to seven counts of murder and weapons charges related to the March 13, 2010 triple homicide in Juárez of U.S. consulate employee Lesley Enriquez, her husband Arthur Redelfs and Jorge Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of another consulate employee.
U.S. officials said Acosta-Hernández admitted that he directed or participated in more than 1,500 murders since 2008 as the head of the armed wing of La Línea, part of the Juárez cartel.
“As the leader of La Linea’s enforcement wing, Mr. Acosta-Hernández directed a reign of terror,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.
“Today’s guilty plea and sentence are a significant step in our effort to bring to justice those responsible for the consulate murders, and it would not have been possible without the extraordinary assistance of our law enforcement partners in Mexico.”
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart called Acosta-Hernández “a cold-blooded murderer with no respect for human life or the rule of law.”
“His violent and deadly actions were put to a stop due to the combined efforts of U.S. law enforcement, and the will of the Mexican government,” she added.
Acosta-Hernández admitted ordering a hit on Jan. 30, 2010 on rivals sighted at a daytime birthday party at a Juárez home in which 16 people were killed. He also acknowledged many other killings, the Justice Department said.
He said the violence was aimed at protecting millions of dollars in drug trafficking profits each year, officials said.
[AFP, 06/04/2012; Dea.gov, 05/04/2012]