Notorious Mexican drug cartel leader headed to prison for distributing meth in North Texas

The leader of the Mexican drug cartel “La Familia Michoacan,” whose members tortured and killed 12 Mexican police officers in 2009 in an attempt to free him from jail, was sentenced Wednesday to 43 years in federal prison for trafficking methamphetamine in North Texas and in the United States.

Arnoldo Rueda-Medina, aka “La Minsa,” 48, and other associates of LFM routinely sent multi-kilogram quantities of methamphetamine through the organization‘s couriers to distributors in the Dallas-Fort Worth area from September 2007 to October 21, 2009.

Rueda-Medina was arrested in Michoacan, Mexico on July 11, 2009, and ultimately extradited to the United States on Jan. 27, 2017.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Rueda-Medina under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act for his involvement in drug trafficking. The act froze all of his assets in the United States and prohibited citizens in the United States from doing any business with him.

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He pleaded guilty in September 2017 to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade sentenced Rueda-Medina to 520 months on the drug conviction and 240 months on the money laundering case. The sentences will be served concurrently.

He also was fined $5 million.

“High ranking cartel figures operating in the North Texas area will not be tolerated,” Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Clyde E. Shelley Jr. said in a Justice Department news release. “The DEA and the US Attorney‘s Office are working around the clock to combat the massive amount of drugs brought into the United States as a result of the direct actions of Arnoldo Rueda-Medina, aka “La Minsa,” and the continuing threat posed to our communities by the remnants of LFM.”

The drug cartel leader and his organization used a sophisticated network of people in Mexico and the United States from September 2007 until 2009 to distribute the methamphetamine in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and to collect proceeds from drug sales, federal officials said.

LFM brought the methamphetamine into the United States through border checkpoints near Tijuana, Mexico and Laredo, they said.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, once distributors received the methamphetamine they prepared the drug, sold it to customers and collected money from the sales.

The money collected was delivered to cartel members or associates in Mexico either by way of bulk cash smuggled in vehicles used by LFM couriers or through money remitters such as Western Union.

Rueda-Medina was arrested in 2009 in Mexico, and members of his drug cartel tried several times to free him, once getting into a shootout in the streets of Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico.

On July 13, 2009, 12 Mexican police officers were kidnapped, tortured and killed in an attack by LFM. At least four other Mexican officers and two Mexican Marines were killed by LFM members in response to Rueda-Medina‘s arrest.

“Thanks to the unrelenting efforts of our United States law enforcement team and the critical assistance and sacrifice of our Mexican counterparts, a notorious drug cartel leader is where he should be, behind bars,” U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox said in a news release.

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At border towns, cartel drug smugglers are only limited by their imagination, often hiding drugs in secret compartments within vehicles. McClatchyrosborne-telegram

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: ,