Identity of Dead man, Plastic Surgery, Altered Fingerprints, Failed Chino Antrax
A bodyguard who officials say later rose to become one of the high-ranking leaders of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel made his first appearance in San Diego federal court Friday, a day after arriving from Amsterdam under heavy security.
Disguises Failed Chino
Jose Arechiga Gamboa, 34, who is known by his nickname “El Chino Antrax,” had gone to extremes to avoid apprehension before his arrest in the Netherlands six months ago, authorities said.
He traveled under the name of a deceased Mexican man, used a fraudulent passport, underwent significant plastic surgery and tried to alter his fingerprints, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. But his identity couldn’t be hidden from forensic techniques used by U.S. law enforcement, officials said.
On Friday during his arraignment, Arechiga uttered only “Yeah” when U.S. District Judge Mitchell Dembin asked him to verify his true identity. Arechiga declined to seek bail Friday at a brief hearing held under heavy security in San Diego. He remains in federal custody.
Arechiga is charged with conspiracy to import methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.
Arechiga started out as a bodyguard for the cartel and led a group called “El Antrax,” named after the deadly disease, that provided security for drug shipments and enforced compliance through violence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, referring to documents filed in support of his extradition.
He later rose to become a high-level leader in the cartel, officials said.
He was indicted by a San Diego federal grand jury on Dec. 20 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Ten days later, he was captured in Amsterdam while getting off a flight from Mexico City.
Arechiga contested the extradition, forcing U.S. officials to go through formal extradition proceedings, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. A Dutch court considered the request and authorized his transfer to U.S. custody on May 28.
Arechiga did not appeal that ruling. He was flown here under the careful watch of the U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Group of women in court for support
Observers at the hearing Friday had to go through a secondary metal detector and search outside the courtroom. A group of women identified by an attorney as family members sat in a middle row.
They declined to speak to reporters afterward, as did Arechiga’s defense attorney, Frank Ragen.
The judge ordered Arechiga be held without bail, although that decision can be reviewed at a later date should his lawyer requests it.
Arechiga followed the brief proceeding with a furrowed brow, then winked at someone in the audience before being led away.
Authorities in San Diego have been chipping away at the Sinaloa cartel with numerous related indictments recently, as the group has become more powerful in the region with the fall of the Arellano-Felix drug trafficking organization.
The elusive kingpin of the cartel, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was captured in February on drug charges in Mexico. He is also charged in the United States, including on an indictment out of San Diego. His arrest leaves the cartel in the hands of co-leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who remains at large.
Zambada’s 24-year-old son, Serafin Zambada, is in custody on a drug trafficking indictment in San Diego, following his November arrest crossing from Mexico into Nogales, Ariz.
And court records show other local related investigations involving dozens of people, 125 wiretaps and 40 to 50 drug seizures inside and outside the U.S., Braverman said in a previous hearing.
One of those defendants, Roberto Ochoa, has pleaded guilty to slashing the throats of two fellow drug traffickers.
Rumors say the man in the fotos below is Chino Antrax.
UT San Diego-source
Borderland Beat Reporter