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

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Jose Maria Guizar-Valencia, Z-43, One of the Last Los Zetas Leaders Pleads Guilty in US

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

A former high-ranking member of the Los Zetas cartel has entered a guilty plea to a conspiracy to import tons of cocaine into the United States.

Jose Maria Guizar-Valencia, "Z-43", originally of Tulare, California, is considered one of the last numbered Los Zetas and was a regional leader in charge of the Guatemala/Central America region.

In 2012, law enforcement began an investigation into the illegal drug trafficking activities of the Los Zetas. At the time, they were a Mexican-based drug cartel in control of much of the Mexico/US border including the Texas corridor.

The investigation revealed Los Zetas had expanded their control of the drug trade to Central and South America. This enabled them to control the importation of drugs from countries including Guatemala, Honduras, and Colombia into the Republic of Mexico and then into the United States.

The investigation revealed that from 2007 to 2014, Guizar-Valencia was responsible for controlling a large portion of Guatemala and for coordinating the transportation of multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Colombia to Guatemala, Guatemala to Mexico, and then from Mexico into the United States for further distribution. 

Several key Los Zetas members at a wedding in 2010.

Los Zetas 'Split'

Since the death of Los Zetas founder, Heriberto "Z-3" Lazcano Lazcano, and the arrest of his replacement, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, "Z-40;" Jose Maria Guizar Valencia had assumed complete command and control of his own faction of Los Zetas in the Southern region of Mexico.

Guizar-Valencia was considered his own entity working in concert but independently of the Los Zetas faction headed by Omar Trevino Morales "Z-42" (Miguel Angel Trevino Morales’ brother). The Trevino-Morales family/organization would evolve into the current day Cartel del Noreste (CDN) while the traditional Zetas group, that "Z-43" led, became Zetas Viejas Escuela (ZVE) or Old School Zetas.

2018 Arrest

Guizar Valencia had been under indictment and was on the run for many years. The US offered a $5 million reward for his capture. He evaded authorities until Feb. 9, 2018, when Mexican authorities and military arrested him in Mexico City, Mexico. The year prior, he had relocated to Mexico City and was known to gamble on horse races in the area. He was living without security in the high-end Hotel Marabella Colonia Roma. He was tracked from the horse races to his suite where he was arrested outside.

He later waived extradition as he was a dual Mexican/US citizen. He also has an indictment in the Eastern District of Virginia in addition to the two federal cases in Texas.

40-Year Sentence in Eastern Texas

"Z-43" also pleaded guilty on Dec. 20, 2021, in an Eastern Texas District Court to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering and was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison on Nov. 15, 2022, by US District Judge Richard A. Schell.

During the investigation, Guizar-Valencia was identified as one of the top leaders of the cartel who was responsible for overseeing the cartel’s drug distribution, firearms trafficking, and bulk cash smuggling. As one of the organization's leaders, Guizar-Valencia approved criminal activities conducted by members of the cartel.

Guizar-Valencia, operating in Guatemala, was responsible for overseeing ton-quantity shipments of cocaine from Guatemala to Mexico and coordinated the transportation of the cocaine from Southern Mexico to Coahuila, Mexico. Guizar-Valencia also managed the receipt of millions of dollars in United States currency obtained from the sale of cocaine in the United States, which was used to pay for firearms purchased in the United States and for cocaine shipments coordinated out of Guatemala on behalf of the cartel.

US Authority Statements

“Today the cartels were put on notice,” said Hamdani. “After a long and hard-fought battle, we brought another ruthless cartel leader to justice. Jose Maria Guizar-Valencia may have thought he was untouchable, but now he feels the reach, power, and persistence of the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He once led the drug activity in a large swath of Central America. Those days are over, and the residents of the Southern District of Texas are now safer.”

“The guilty plea of Guizar-Valencia is another example of our success in the fight against Mexican drug cartels operating in the United States and exemplifies the commitment of the DEA and our law enforcement partners to battle against global drug trafficking organizations,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux, Houston Division. “DEA continues our pursuit to hold accountable high-ranking members of Mexican drug cartels who profit from the sale of dangerous drugs to our citizens, and threaten the security of the United States.”

U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana will sentence Guizar-Valencia at a later date, at which time he will be facing a possible punishment of up to life in prison and a $10 million maximum fine. He will remain in custody.

Sources DOJ, DOJ, State Dept., Borderland Beat


  1. Yet Z40 still running his CDN cartel from a Mexican jail.

    1. From a jail, wow, what a "capo".

    2. It wouldn’t surprise me if z40 was getting released for days out it seems whatever prison he goes to they are shit scared of him

    3. 1:17 not just any jail, a Mexican jail.
      He's currently living a better life than the average person even though he's locked up.
      He gets whatever he wants and has all the jail personnel scared to death. They all do what he says if not they will die.
      Crazy right?

    4. 3:47
      The concept of "humiliation" seems not to exist in the sphere of Mexican capos.

  2. My worst day as a free man will be better than his best day in prison.

    1. He has live concerts from famous artist playing for him outside the prison. Does what he wants. Eats what he wants. Getting sleep finally after all those yrsbon the lam. I highly doubt your worst day is better than his 😂😂 he made his whole fanily millions. Yours still getting food stamps. I understand the hate y’all have for them. But you’re a peón next to him lol

    2. @2:45 PM
      Shurrrupp go back asleep

    3. @2:45

      This so called capo is still alive but what goes around comes around. He’s not safe no matter what you believe.

      “He made his whole family millions”

      All that money but still locked up.

      Semper Fi

    4. He's inside a hotel where money talks
      He's in a hotel not a jail

    5. 2:45 the only music he listens to is either in his mind or his personal radio as he isn't locked up in México. Hopefully, for him, he lived it up because for the next 34+/- years, unless he cooperates, he going to be incarcerated.
      Valencia Guízar, otro traficante multimillonario de bajo perfil del mero Michoacán.

    6. He goes to bed at lights out. He's in a small cell smelling another man's farts. I got a nice-smelling woman, where's his? He strips on command, lifts his balls and spreads his butt cheeks. Another man eyeballs his rectum. He eats Ramen and cheese. Yesterday I feasted on braised oxtail washed down with ice-cold Heineken. Tonight I'm eating smothered turkey wings bought with my food stamps.
      It sucks to be him. I'm living good, bozo.

    7. @04:03 you supposed to drink red stripe with oxtail foo!

      Stop drinking and get a job foo

    8. Turkeys can't fly..
      Why do they even have wings?

  3. Typo mixing up the claves of z40 as Omar and z42 as Miguel

  4. Look at that photo from 2010 there’s some serious people there that’s when zetas were in their prime there is not one cartel that could have took the zetas on at that time they sent cds running from Nuevo Laredo and cds la familia and cdg had to join together but overall it was the US and the government who went after them hard probably more than any other cartel ever because of the rate they were expanding

    1. That was Ardillas wedding que no? I think they were all identified in a article here on BB. There was also a picture of Lazcano and his saucy girl for the night with the newly weds.
      Must've been a hundred or more bodyguards to protect all those bad hombres.

    2. Lol if you take notice, 40 is the only one who’s not embracing anyone and keeping his hands to himself… a picture says 1,000 words…

  5. Bad bad bad hombres these older zetas guys

  6. guiza valencia? his roots are deff from Aguililla,Michoacan


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