Gulf Cartel leader Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez was arrested on October 9, 2014, while shopping in Edinburg, Texas, authorities announced yesterday, when Saenz-Tamez made an appearance in a Texas court on drug trafficking charges. His ascend to the top is further proof that the Gulf Cartel is in a steady decline after the imprisonment of many of its leaders.
“Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez, also known as Panochitas, became the head of the Gulf Cartel following the 2013 arrest of former leader Mario Ramirez-Trevino,” DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart told the press. “He moved steadily up the cartel ranks, working as a lookout, record keeper, plaza boss, and finally its leader. He oversaw much of the violence and bloodshed that has plagued Mexico.”
A federal investigation into the large-scale trafficking of illegal drugs from Mexico into Texas led to the identity of Saenz-Tamez. The investigation revealed that thousands of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana were shipped into Texas and then to locations across the nation, including Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Maryland and Georgia.
Saenz-Tamez was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 5, 2013, and charged with conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy with intent to distribute marijuana, and conspiracy to money launder. If convicted, Saenz-Tamez faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison for the drug charges and up to 20 years in federal prison for the money laundering charge.