The head of the Gulf Cartel, the leading drug cartel in northern Mexico and southern Texas, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after cooperating with the U.S. federal government and pleading guilty to five counts that included attempted murder and money laundering. —JCL
The New York Times:
One of the most brutal and feared drug kingpins in Mexican history was sentenced this week to 25 years in prison during a highly secretive hearing here that was closed to the public to protect the lives of everyone involved, according to a court transcript unsealed Thursday.
Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, the head of the Gulf Cartel, which controls much of the cocaine traffic across the border in South Texas, has agreed to cooperate with the federal government, according to the transcript. Mr. Cárdenas pleaded guilty to five counts in a lengthy indictment, including drug dealing, money laundering and the attempted murder and assault of federal agents. He also forfeited $50 million in assets.
The sentencing took place in a federal courtroom in Houston behind locked doors and armed guards before Judge Hilda G. Tagle, who granted the government’s request to bar the public. Only two members of Mr. Cárdenas’s family and a handful of federal agents were present.
Judges often seal particular documents in drug and terrorism trials to protect informants or continuing investigations, but it is highly unusual to seal a sentencing hearing for security reasons.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency
DEA agents arrest Osiel Cárdenas Guillén in early 2007. Guillén headed the Gulf Cartel, based in Matamoros, Mexico.