Marine Veteran Turned Cartel Boss Pleads Guilty to Drug-Trafficking Operation Moving Tons of Cocaine From South America to Mexico-U.S.
A U.S. Marine veteran has pleaded guilty in a San Diego federal court for organizing a drug-trafficking operation that moved South American-sourced cocaine through Mexico and to the U.S.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Angel Dominguez Ramirez Jr. pleaded guilty to a drug-trafficking conspiracy and a money-laundering conspiracy on Wednesday.
In his plea agreement, the Marine veteran, a dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, admitted that he was the leader of an organization that moved hundreds of tons of cocaine from South America into the U.S.
Prosecutors said Dominguez's group used airplanes, boats, and commercial vehicles to transport the illicit drugs from South and Central America into Mexico and then moved the loads over the Texas and California borders for distribution.
Dominguez also confessed to coordinating the cash flow from drug-sales profits in the U.S. back to Mexico, according to Border Report. The Marine veteran was arrested in Mexico in 2016 and extradited to San Diego after three years.
U.S. Marine Veteran is a Member of Mexican Drug Cartel
Angel Dominguez Ramirez Jr.'s military training was reportedly an asset while working with Mexican drug cartels. According to the indictment, the Marine veteran was working as an original Los Zetas member.
Los Zetas is a paramilitary cartel initially launched as an enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel or Cartel del Golfo. Dominguez then created his own group and named it El Seguimiento 39, better known as "Zeta 39."
Prosecutors noted that the Marine veteran was able to operate his group through cooperative alliances with some other powerful Mexican drug cartels, including the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel or Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion.
Dominguez reportedly relied on a network of corrupt government officials and law enforcement officers in Mexico, including top federal police commander Ivan Reyes Arzate.
For years, Arzate has served as the main point of contact for intelligence sharing between the U.S. and the Mexican federal police. Last month, he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in New York to conspiring with the Zeta 39.
He also admitted accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to help some Mexican drug cartels ship cocaine into the U.S.
Prosecutors said an intercepted phone call between Dominguez and another drug trafficker in 2016 indicated that Reyes was the one sharing intelligence on U.S. drug enforcement operations with drug cartels.
Prosecutors said that at one point, Dominguez suggested a plan to Reyes, which was to feed the police with incriminating information against rival cartel bosses so when they were arrested, Dominguez could take over their territory.
Arzate was previously sentenced to three years in U.S. federal prison after pleading no contest in a Chicago court to charges he traded secrets to the Beltran Leyva cartel of Mexico.
The Los Zetas Cartel
The Los Zetas Cartel was formed in 1997 as the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel. It broke away as an independent, organized criminal enterprise in 2010.
Since then, Los Zetas started to recruit more widely and even brought in former Guatemalan special forces soldiers. According to Britannica, Los Zetas became known to be a group using violent tactics with a tight organizational structure.
The cartel has developed a reputation for brutality and violence. It extended its activities to kidnapping, smuggling people, extortion, and arms trafficking. The Los Zetas had reportedly killed 72 migrants and dumped their bodies in a hole in Tamaulipas in August 2010.
Despite breaking up with the Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas has retained control of important trafficking routes along the east coast of Mexico. The cartel also has a significant presence in Guatemala, using corrupt police officers as informants.
In October 2012, it was reported that longtime Los Zetas leader Heriberto Lazcano was killed in a shootout with Mexican marines.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Mary Webber
WATCH: The First Militaristic Drug Cartel | Narco Wars - From National Geographic
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