The Colima Cartel is a Mexican drug trafficking and methamphetamine producing cartel operating out of Guadalajara, Jalisco, and formerly led by the Amezcua Contreras brothers. The cartel was directed by José de Jesús Amezcua Contreras, and supported by his brothers, Adán and Luis.
The Colima Cartel is believed to obtain large quantities of the precursor ephedrine, through contacts in Thailand and India. From Thailand arrived to Collins Laboratories property of Baltazar Tirado Escamilla and from there was distributed to different methamphetamine labs in Mexico and the United States.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency traces the foundations of the Colima Cartel to 1988 as an illegal alien smuggling operations. It is believed the cartel established its roots in methamphetamines and their precursors during the late eighties and early nineties while other Mexican cartels were focused on the cocaine trade.
Through a more organized and grander operation, the Colima Cartel were able to over take the previous motorcycle gangs and independent traffickers who once dominated the methamphetamine trade.
The Colima Cartel operated originally only in trafficking for Colombian cartels, through contacts with those cartels, it is believe the Colima Cartel learned how to better market and structure the organization as an international business. By 1992 the Colima Cartel, through operations as a business, was able to establish amphetamine contacts in Switzerland, India, Germany and the Czech Republic.
What separated the Colima Cartel from other trafficking operations was their control of the methamphetamine trade, instead of receiving a percentage of goods smuggled for Colombian cartels, they received 100 percent of the profits of their methamphetamine trade.
The DEA has reported the Colima Cartel heavily recruited relatives to operate at the first two tiers of their organization, "insulating the structure." Relatives and close friends compromised the first two tiers who then recruited low level, non related individuals to operate the methamphetamine cooking process and the smuggling of chemicals into the United States.
Luis Amezcua Contreras
On November 10, 1997, Adán Amezcua was arrested in his hometown of Colima on weapons charges.
On June 1, 1998, Luis and Jesús Amezcua were arrested in Guadalajara, Jalisco, by agents from the Mexican counter-narcotics agency, the Fiscalía Especial para Atención a los Delitos contra la Salud (FEADS).
The Colima Cartel at the time of the arrests of Luis and Jesús was believed to be "the most prominent methamphetamine trafficking organization operating ... as well as the leading supplier of chemicals to other methamphetamine trafficking organizations" Within nine days of their arrest, the New York Times reported two of the three charges Luis and Jesús Amezcua Contreras were facing were dropped.
José de Jesús Amezcua Contreras
Judge José Nieves Luna Castro dropped from each, one count of criminal association and money laundering, saying they had been charged under statutes that were not in effect at the time of their alleged crimes, leaving one remaining charge for each of the brothers.
May 2001, Adán Amezcua was arrested on money laundering charges.
In May 2002, a federal court blocked the scheduled extradition of José de Jesús Amezcua to the United States to face drug trafficking charges because the U.S. extradition request did not comply with Mexico’s requirement that extradited criminals not face the possibility of capital punishment or a life sentence.
On September 5, 2002, Japan Today published an article in which the head of the attorney general's organized crime unit (UEDO), José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, stated the sisters of the imprisoned Colima Cartel leaders Luis Ignacio, Jesús and Adan Amezcua Contreras had taken over for their brothers.
October, 2008, authorities of the U.S. Department of Treasury, achieved on the basis of financial information and arrests of drug traffickers, identify that Amezcua Contreras Organization has 2 leaders who are still at large: Patricia Amezcua, (sister of Adan, Jesus and Luis) who is responsible for the overall operations and Telesforo Baltazar Tirado Escamilla, who with his company Collins Group directs traffic of pseudoephedrine helped by their sons and lieutenants Rolando and Luis Alfonso Tirado Diaz pulled from their company in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico.