One of the founders of the Los Zetas criminal organization has been extradited to the United States, where he was wanted on drug trafficking and other charges, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said.
Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar, aka El Mamito or El Caballero, faces criminal conspiracy and drug charges in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the AG’s office said.
U.S. prosecutors began an investigation of Rejon Aguilar’s involvement in drug trafficking in the United States in 2006.
Investigators learned that a criminal organization called La Compañia smuggled large quantities of cocaine and marijuana into the United States.
Rejon Aguilar was responsible for purchasing drugs abroad and smuggling them into the United States, as well as for laundering the proceeds from drug sales, the AG’s office said.
He is considered one of the founders of Los Zetas, a powerful criminal organization created by a group of Mexican army special forces deserters in 1999.
Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent organized crime group, became the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, but the two gangs parted ways in early 2010.
Rejon Aguilar had been held at the Almoloya de Juarez penitentiary in the central state of Mexico, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, since Sept. 14, 2011, when a judge ruled that extradition proceedings could move forward.
“Once the stages of the extradition proceedings were exhausted, the Foreign Relations Secretariat issued the corresponding agreement via which the government of Mexico granted the extradition of the subject wanted by the government of the United States,” the AG’s office said.
Rejon Aguilar was handed over to the U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration by Mexican federal agents at the Toluca International Airport in Mexico state, the Attorney General’s Office said.
The suspect, who was the subject of a $5 million reward being offered by the DEA, was “the number three in the command structure” of Los Zetas, the Public Safety Secretariat said after his arrest last year.
The Zetas boss was allegedly involved in the Feb. 15, 2011, attack on two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents in the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, the AG’s office said.
ICE agent Jaime Zapata was killed and fellow agent Victor Avila was wounded by Zetas gunmen while driving from Mexico City to the northern city of Monterrey.
The two agents, who were assigned to the ICE attache office in Mexico City, were driving an armored vehicle when they were attacked in San Luis Potosi.
Rejon Aguilar enlisted in the Mexican army in 1993 in the southern state of Campeche, where he was born.
He was assigned to the Air Mobile Special Forces Group in 1996 and was made a federal AG’s office agent a year later in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.
Rejon Aguilar deserted from the army in February 1999 and joined the so-called “Group of 14” that founded Los Zetas a month later.