Photo: Crime news in Latin America
A man presumed to be the son of Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno, one of the leaders of Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, will face trial on drug and other charges, the Attorney General’s Office said, citing a ruling by a judge.
Jose Juan Esparragoza Jimenez and Joel Vazquez Baldenegro were ordered to face trial by a federal district court judge, the AG’s office said in a statement.
The two men are charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute the illegal drugs, and illegal possession of firearms.
Esparragoza Jimenez and Vazquez Baldenegro were arrested during an extensive search of residences in Culiacan, the capital of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, on Aug. 20.
Authorities seized drugs, firearms, 2.74 million pesos (about $210,000) in cash and chemicals used to produce illegal drugs from the suspects, the AG’s office said.
The two men are being held at the federal prison in Almoloya de Juarez in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area.
Esparragoza Jimenez admitted in a statement given to a judge on Aug. 24 that he was the son of Esparragoza Moreno, telling the court that his father died in June but providing no additional details, judicial officials said.
The suspect was in charge of overseeing the smuggling of crystal meth, cocaine and marijuana into the United States, but he “kept a low profile,” security officials said.
Investigators cannot confirm that Esparragoza Jimenez is the son of Esparragoza Moreno because they have not been able to make a DNA match, officials said.
Esparragoza Moreno died from a heart attack while recovering from an accident he was involved in last May and was cremated, Rio Doce magazine reported, citing sources close to the Sinaloa cartel leader’s family.
Sinaloa is home to the drug cartel that bears the state’s name.
The Sinaloa cartel, sometimes referred to by Mexican officials as the Pacific cartel, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia, intelligence agencies say.
Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, the cartel’s leader, was captured on Feb. 22 by marines at the Miramar condominium in Mazatlan.