by Carlos Alvarez
Mexican businessman Antonio Reynosa Gonzalez, 72 years old, also known as " The Engineer" , who was extradited to the US in October 2015, pled guilty to cocaine trafficking Wednesday in Federal Court in San Diego, CA, 21 years after being accused of organizing shipments for the Sinaloa Cartel.
According to the LA Times, the now confessed drug trafficker, was also accused two decades ago of managing the first cross border tunnel found in 1993 near Otay Mesa and San Diego. "The Engineer" was extradited to the US after being arrested in Playas Tijuana.
The criminal faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for conspiracy to import cocaine and possession with intent to distribute. However, US prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence of about 8 years, asking the judge to take into consideration the age, health and the acceptance of responsibility, among other factors of Antonio Reynoso.
Reynoso Gonzalez, and two of his brothers , Jose and Jesus, and 20 other people were indicted in the Federal Court for the Southern District of California in 1995, to use a legitimate company, Distributors Basics, for a base of operations in Los Angeles, CA to store drugs belonging to the criminal group, the Sinaloa Cartel, then headed by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera and then build a tunnel under the premises of the company's property.
When "El Chapo" was arrested in Guatemala in 1993, authorities found a map in one of their hideouts, which led to the discovery of the cross-border tunnel, nearly completed and ending at the sight of a warehouse in Otay Mesa, that functioned as another storage facility for Reynoso.
According to the allegations, "The Engineer" trafficked cocaine from Colombia toMexico, and from there to the Unites States using airplanes, trains, automobiles, and tunnels. The newspaper report says that nearly 7.3 tons of cocaine were loaded into 400 boxes of Comate Brand canned chilies and transported to the warehouse; that same shipment was seized by Mexican Security forces along the way.
The Mexican businessman also has admitted to having organized and transported a shipment of 390 kilograms of cocaine in 1994. The cocaine was hidden in a boiler, being shipped from LA to Chicago where the cargo was seized. Reynoso was caught,
at the time, talking about the shipment.
Reynosa Antonio Gonzalez was one of 13 main objectives extradited to the United States a year ago, as part of renewed cooperation with Mexico to attack drug trafficking, said the LA Times article, written by Kristina Davis.
"The Engineer" lived publicly in Mexico for years after his indictment and became a “member of prominent social circles". In addition, he built a mansion from which one can see the border with the US.
According to a report from La Zeta, in July of 2015, Reynoso is originally from Jalostotitlan, Jalisco, and was accused of committing crimes between an unknown date until, at least, June 23, 1995 in the cities of Los Angeles, Ca and Chicago, Illinois.
The charges attributed to Reynoso Gonzalez include conspiracy to import and possess cocaine hydrochloride with intent to distribute, an offense established in Title 21 of the Penal Code of the United States of America.
However, the accused has claimed through the appellate process, that the criminal sentence against him has been served by the passage of time, a view that the trial judge and /or judges did not share nor guarantee.