In this Sept. 7, 2012, file photo a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration technician holds several pounds of Mexican methamphetamine confiscated in the St. Louis area. Jim Salter AP
In this Sept. 7, 2012, file photo a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration technician holds several pounds of Mexican methamphetamine confiscated in the St. Louis area. Jim Salter AP

Fort Worth

Cartel boss pleads guilty in drug kingpin and money laundering case

September 15, 2017 4:20 PM

DALLAS

A man suspected of holding a leadership position in one of the more notorious Mexican drug cartels pleaded guilty Friday to drug distribution and money laundering charges.

Arnoldo Rueda-Medina, also known as “La Minsa,” 47, faces up to life in prison and a $4 million fine on the drug conspiracy count and up to 20 years on the money laundering count. Rueda-Medina will remain in custody pending sentencing, according to a news release from the U.S Attorney’s Office.

“The cartel leadership in Mexico is not immune from our reach,” said U.S. Attorney John Parker.

According to court documents, between September 2007 and Oct. 21, 2009, Rueda-Medina held a leadership position within the La Familia Michoacán, an organized crime syndicate based in the Mexican state of Michoacán.

La Familia Michoacán was responsible for trafficking thousands of kilograms of methamphetamine into the United States through border checkpoints near Laredo, Texas and Tijuana, Mexico, and those drugs were delivered to stash locations in North Texas and elsewhere, the release said.

La Familia Michoacán used a sophisticated network of individuals in Mexico and the United States to distribute the methamphetamine in the Dallas and Fort Worth area and to collect proceeds from the methamphetamine sales, according to plea documents.

Couriers drove vehicles stuffed with cash into Mexico or used money remitters such as Western Union to collect drug revenue made in the United States, the release said.

Three years ago, Mexican government officials claimed they had defeated the organized crime family but many doubted those gains could be sustained.

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

rosborne@star-telegram.com

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Max Faulkner mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3

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