A man accused of smuggling large quantities of cocaine into the United States has been extradited to that country, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said.
Jesus Zambada Garcia is the brother of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, one of Mexico’s most powerful drug traffickers and a partner of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.
Zambada Garcia, a native of Culiacan, the capital of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, was being held at a maximum-security prison in Matamoros, a city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.
The 50-year-old Zambada Garcia was flown to New York, where AG’s office agents handed him over to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Zambada Garcia, known as “El Rey,” allegedly smuggled 120 tons of cocaine worth some $10 billion into the United States.
The suspected drug trafficker was arrested in October 2008 in Mexico City by agents from the Siedo organized crime unit of the AG’s office, the lead agency in fighting Mexico’s drug cartels.
Zambada Garcia, who was arrested along with 15 suspected associates, was considered one of the Sinaloa cartel’s top leaders and allegedly ran the criminal organization’s operations in central and southern Mexico, as well as at the Mexico City international airport.
Zambada Garcia’s son, Jesus Zambada Reyes, was arrested along with him and later committed suicide while in custody, the AG’s office said.
U.S. federal prosecutors filed drug charges in 2009 against 43 people, including Zambada Garcia.
His extradition is part of the war declared on Mexico’s drug cartels by President Felipe Calderon.
Zambada Garcia’s prosecution in the United States is expected to weaken the Sinaloa cartel, considered Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking organization, since Mexican traffickers usually cut deals with U.S. authorities to reduce their sentences.
The U.S. Treasury Department on March 6 barred U.S. citizens from doing business and conducting financial transactions with Zambada Garcia and two companies based in Culiacan that have links to Ismael Zambada.
The Treasury Department also froze assets belonging to Zambada and the companies in the United States.
The Zarka de Occidente and Zarca de Mexico companies were targeted because they are owned by Zynthia Borboa Zazueta, who the Treasury Department concluded in 2007 was acting for Ismael Zambada.
Zarka de Occidente is an agribusiness firm and Zarka de Mexico operates a clothing and accessories store.