Photo: Drug Cartel Leader in US Jail
Rigoberto Yanez-Guerrero, a former ranking member of the Tijuana Cartel/Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO), entered a guilty plea in federal court in San Diego today, announced U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California.
Yanez was extradited by the government of Mexico to the United States in December 2010 to face charges in California for narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime-related offenses. Long reputed to be one of the most notorious multi-national drug trafficking organizations, the AFO controlled the flow of cocaine, marijuana, and other drugs through the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali into the United States. Its operations also extended into southern Mexico as well as Colombia.
According to court records and the defendants’ admissions at today’s hearing, Yanez admitted that he was a member of the AFO from approximately 1995 to 2001. During that time, Yanez served as a point of contact for Colombian traffickers wishing to do business with the AFO and transmitted money to Colombian drug traffickers. Yanez admitted that he participated in the shipment of approximately five-10 tons of cocaine from Mexico to the United States. According to his plea, Yanez faces 20 years in prison and will forfeit $1 million involved in or derived from his illegal activities.
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 3, 2011, before U.S. District Court Judge Larry A. Burns in San Diego.