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Friday, August 11, 2023

Mexican Cartel Crew Leader From Aurora Tried But Couldn’t Get Out. Now, Pablo Vega Cuevas Is Hoping For Leniency For Helping Feds.

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Mexican cartel crew leader from Aurora tried but couldn’t get out. Now, Pablo Vega Cuevas is hoping for leniency for helping feds.

He’s seeking a reduced sentence of 15 years for his role in Guerreros Unidos. In 2014, he asked the drug cartel to let him leave, but his bosses told him to keep unloading heroin hidden on buses, prosecutors say.

Pablo Vega Cuevas.

Pablo Vega Cuevas was at the center of a Mexico-to-Chicago heroin-trafficking operation and wanted out.

Vega, whose crew unloaded heroin from passenger buses in warehouses in Aurora and Batavia, was part of the Guerreros Unidos Mexican drug cartel, and he sensed that federal authorities were watching.

He was right. They were conducting surveillance on the warehouses and tapping the cartel’s BlackBerry devices.

Vega was arrested in late 2014. Eventually, he agreed to help prosecutors and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Chicago with their case against the cartel that’s been blamed for the 2014 disappearance and presumed massacre of 43 college students in Iguala in the Mexican state of Guerrero.

Now, in a court filing Monday, prosecutors for the first time have confirmed that Vega has been cooperating with them. 

They also revealed that Vega, who has pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges but hasn’t yet been sentenced, is hoping that prosecutors recommend a 15-year prison term when his case is wrapped up. That’s half of the minimum 30-year prison term called for in federal sentencing guidelines. The maximum is life.

Sources say that, for more than a year, Vega’s crew unloaded about 2,000 kilograms of heroin hidden in passenger buses. According to prosecutors, the drugs were distributed in Chicago and across the country, and the proceeds were sent back to Mexico on the same buses.

For years, Vega’s case has been shrouded in unusual secrecy. His 2021 plea agreement has been kept under seal. And discussions about his case in court have largely been held out of earshot of anyone in the courtroom. The judge even huddled privately with attorneys when a Chicago Sun-Times reporter entered an otherwise-empty courtroom.

The new details about Vega are contained in a memo prosecutors filed in the case of another reputed Guerreros Unidos member, Adan Casarrubias Salgado, known as El Tomate — the Tomato.

Adan Casarrubias Salgado. The Mexican government blacked out his eyes in the photo.

Mexico attorney general’s office

The memo lays out the evidence prosecutors expect to present against Casarrubias. It refers to Vega as “Individual A,” but the details in the filing make his identity clear.

The memo says he’s willing to testify against Casarrubias.

Vega and his brother Marco Vega Cuevas were born in Mexico and grew up in Aurora.

In the court filing, prosecutors said Vega lost a job in 2012 and started working for his brother, who had become a leader in the cartel in Mexico.

Vega previously held jobs in factories in the west suburbs, according to Kane County court records.

Marco Vega drowned in Mexico in March 2014. According to prosecutors, Pablo Vega traveled to Mexico for his brother’s memorial service and met with the cartel’s boss, Mario Casarrubias Salgado, nicknamed El Sapo Guapo, the Handsome Toad, who was Adan Casarrubias’ brother.

Mario Casarrubias used to live in Chicago and had a job delivering pizzas. In Mexico, he owned a passenger bus line — originally called Northern Star, then renamed Monarca and Volcano — that prosecutors say transported heroin from Mexico to Chicago in hidden compartments.

After his brother died, Vega started getting orders from The Handsome Toad, prosecutors say, being paid $3,000 for each drug-laden bus his crew unloaded in the Chicago area.

In April 2014, Mexican authorities arrested Mario Casarrubias, calling him “one of the main drug transporters to Chicago.”

His brothers Adan Casarrubias and Angel Casarrubias then took control of the cartel, according to prosecutors.

Adan Casarrubias also had lived in Chicago and delivered pizzas for a restaurant in Belmont Cragin on the Northwest Side.

Vega met with his new bosses and told them he “did not want to continue working in the drug-trafficking business,” prosecutors wrote.

Vega told the Casarrubias brothers he suspected the cartel’s warehouses in the Chicago area were under law enforcement surveillance.

The Casarrubias brothers responded that Vega could stop working for the cartel once he took in three loads of narcotics in the Chicago area, according to prosecutors’ memo, which said Vega’s crew continued unloading buses.

In a BlackBerry message on June 2, 2014, Adan Casarrubias told Vega, “Buddy, I’m going to give you a number so you can pick up some money,” according to prosecutors, who said the amount was $600,000.

Four days later, Casarrubias told Vega in another intercepted BlackBerry conversation to give two customers a total of 26 kilograms of heroin, according to prosecutors.

Vega was arrested in December 2014 in Oklahoma.

Adan Casarrubias, who was charged with drug conspiracy and money-laundering in 2019 and extradited from Mexico to Chicago last year, is in federal custody awaiting trial. His brother Mario Casarrubias died in prison in Mexico.

Chicago Sun Times


  1. Feds let the people they want to work, and the ones they don’t they obviously pop ‘em. There’s a lot of people I know In the business been doing it for years and they don’t get touched. You can only guess who they working with though!

    1. You don’t know anyone in the business, if thy don’t get touched they’re snitching on everyone

    2. Idk man I think to some extent that’s true but eventually it seems everyone gets picked up…it’s possible to get a good deal though don Lu go got a great one till he got murked

    3. Is it true guys that don’t snitch don’t last long in the game?

  2. G.U were some interesting characters with abarca narco mayor and his wife who had ties to ABL white boots .. mis respetos a los compas cochos esa gente de guerrero tambien son de guebos alv

    1. Interesting? Is that what you call them? Didnt they murdered like 40 kids over some dumb shit?

    2. It wasn't the cartel it was the government they wanted part of the gold mine in balsas the political party of El pri didn't have control in iguala so they made this hit to take over

    3. Guerrero used to be run by sinaloas when beltranes had that state on lock. after their downfall, that cartel spilt like in 8 cells all fighting each other.
      Now la Familia michoAcana pretty much runs most that state. There's small cells but nothing with great power like LFM and even some CJNG running around

    4. Maybe or maybe not on the normalistas. 1 gu leader commited suicide (?) in jail & 1 or 2 others gunned down in the street. Abarca the mayor found not guilty of the students kidnapping. Case hasn't been fully disclosed to the public. Somebody with pull has been working behind the scenes to make sure everything don't come out despite the publicly the case has received.

    5. She had an affair with old white boots too…

  3. They murder to maintain their area of operation and influence. They kill the users of the product. At the end they want clemency only a few want to die by the same gun they have killed. Wait until someone ask for his papers if he walks mainline. Someone will google his name and find out he is not the man he said he was. No one likes a rat in prison, main line inmates sometimes have nothing to lose. Hopefully he has enough money to pay protection money.


    1. 9:54
      "Wait til someone asks for his papers"..
      Never did any state time myself, but it's my understanding from pals that this is how it's done, you offer to show your new cellie your paperwork, and politely suggest they share their's..
      In the movies, the feds give the rat a new name and cover story, but in real life the truth usually weasels it's way out after awhile..
      Must be nerve-wracking to be an informant in custody, being quizzed by grizzled cons about your pedigree, desperately trying to slow your pulse rate down as hard eyes look into your own, seeking a flicker of untruthfulness that might culminate in a kangaroo court and brutal beat down, or worse..

  4. Durangos with the yay and cochos with la chiva in the chi

    1. True but Duranguenses have been moving chiva in Chicago since the 60s. Look at the Herrera family. They dominated an area on the south side of the city. Then you have los Cabrera who also ran a big market on the West Side. Maybe that to some extent changed when they got arrested and other competitors came in. Regardless, the people of Durango have a strong footprint in this town.

  5. There's nothing to bargain with, fentanyl shut this market down and he hooked the customers for it.

  6. Dam these dudes were risking their freedom unloading busses for 3k, not worth it. But everyone’s money situation is different

    1. A few busses a month add up…


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