Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Kingpin Sentenced to 27 Years

NEW YORK, USNewswire/ -- Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that former Mexico-based drug kingpin Gilberto Salinas Doria “Güero Gil” was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 27 years in prison for importing at least 200 tons of cocaine into the United States for the notorious Mexican Juarez Cartel.

Salinas Doria pleaded guilty in December 2008 to narcotics conspiracy charges after being extradited from Mexico in March 2007.

According to the indictment, other documents filed in the case, and statements made during Salinas Doria's sentencing and guilty plea proceeding:

From 1994 through 1999, Salinas Doria received at least 200 tons of cocaine from co-defendants Alcides Ramon Magana and Jesus Albino Quintero Meraz, who were leaders of the Juarez Cartel, in the areas of Playa del Carmen, Quintano Roo, and Reynosa, Tamaulipus, in Mexico. As part of the narcotics trafficking conspiracy, Salinas Doria arranged for the transportation and delivery of the cocaine to wholesale distributors in New York and other cities in the United States.

Approximately 4.4 tons of the organization's cocaine was seized by United States law enforcement agents in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania between 1997 and 1999.

Cartel leaders Ramon Magana and Quintero Meraz arranged to make payments to a third co-defendant, Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid, who was then the Governor of the State of Quintana Roo. Specifically, during the period from about 1994 through at least December 1996, Ramon Magana arranged to pay Villanueva Madrid approximately $500,000 in United States currency for each shipment of cocaine that Ramon Magana transported through Quintana Roo.

Salinas Doria was initially arrested in Mexico in October 1998, but escaped from Mexican authorities; he was re-arrested in Venezuela and returned to Mexican custody in early 1999. He was prosecuted by Mexican authorities on local charges, and subsequently extradited to the United States in 2007.

Villanueva Madrid is in Mexican custody pending a Mexican court's decision on a formal request for extradition submitted by the United States. Ramon Magana and Quintero Meraz are in custody in Mexico on local charges; the case against them is still pending in the United States.

"Gilberto Salinas Doria is a true drug kingpin who, in the course of just five years, shipped more than 200 tons of cocaine from Mexico to the United States. The harm caused by the poison Salinas Doria poured into the United States is inestimable, and the stiff sentence imposed by the Judge today is just punishment for a life of crime," said Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, which includes agents and officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA"), New York City Police Department, New York State Police, and the DEA's Mexico City Country Office and Merida Regional Office. Mr. Bharara thanked the Department of Justice Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs and the United States Marshal's Service for their assistance in the extradition, and he expressed his gratitude to the Mexican Attorney General's Office for its cooperation in the investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jocelyn E. Strauber, Glen Kopp and Anirudh Bansal are in charge of the prosecution, which is being handled by the Office's International Narcotics Trafficking Unit.

The charges and allegations contained in the Indictment against the defendants with pending cases are merely accusations and those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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