Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Judge halts U.S. extradition of imprisoned Gulf Cartel boss Mario Cárdenas Guillén

"MX" for Borderland Beat
Mario Cárdenas Guillén
A Mexican federal judge granted a motion that prevents Mario Cárdenas Guillén, alias "El M-1" and/or "El Gordo", from being extradited to the United States. Mario is the brother of Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, who was once the top leader of the Gulf Cartel and its former paramilitary group, Los Zetas.

The judge who granted the motion is Abigail Ocampo Álvarez. He oversees writs of amparo cases in the State of Mexico. Mario's motion was approved after his attorney team asked the prosecution to prove they have met all the prerequisites for his extradition.

His attorneys said that the prosecution violated Articles 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 27 and 30 of the Extradition Treaty between the U.S. and Mexico. A hearing was set for June 2020, where the presiding judge will decide if Mario could be extradited.

Last year, Borderland Beat reported  that his extradition process had been partially approved after Mexico's Attorney General's Office (FGR) was granted a motion. Mario is currently imprisoned at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 ("Altiplano"), a maximum-security prison in the State of Mexico. He is wanted in the U.S. state of Texas for drug trafficking.

Background
Mario was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, the historic home base of the Gulf Cartel, in 1964. He was imprisoned at a penitentiary in Matamoros in 1995 for drug trafficking and organized crime involvement.

While in prison, Mario was also known for holding large parties, inviting prostitutes, organized gambling rings for horse races and cockfights, and having all sort of commodities. He was also suspected of coordinating drug trafficking activities for the Gulf Cartel.

Federal authorities then transferred him to the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 2 ("Puente Grande"), a maximum-security prison in Jalisco. Mario was released from prison in 2007 and resumed his organized crime activities. He rose through the ranks of the Gulf Cartel after the November 2010 death of his brother Antonio Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén ("Tony Tormenta").

Mario was part of a faction known as Grupo M/Los Marinos, which was reportedly made up of former marines and was based in Matamoros. His code name was "M-1", but it is often confused with the code names from another Gulf Cartel faction, Los Metros. Cartel member Lorenzo Cuéllar Botello from Los Metros also had the code name "M-1".

In September 2012, Mario was arrested by the Mexican Navy in Altamira, Tamaulipas.

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