A federal Texas judge on Thursday found two members of the infamous Sinaloa drug cartel guilty on a number of charges in a case dating back to 2012, according to court records and local reports.
Mario Iglesias-Villegas, otherwise known as “Grim Reaper,” and former state police officer Arturo Shows Urquidi were one of dozens of Sinaloa cartel leaders charged in the famed case involving Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The Sinaloa cartel – one of the world’s largest drug-trafficking organizations under Guzman’s leadership – was responsible for multiple murders and smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the United States during the drug kingpin’s 25-year reign, prosecutors previously said in court papers.
Numerous witnesses who participated in the drug trafficking process, murders and kidnappings testified against Villegas and Urquidi, according to U.S.-Mexico border news website Border Report.
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Criminal defense attorney Jorge Aristotelidis, the lead attorney representing Villegas, argued in court on Thursday that allowing former cartel members-turned-informants to give testimony would only benefit those seeking reduced sentences. Prosecutors, on the other hand, argued that informants have helped keep drugs off the streets, the outlet reported.
“Call this what it is, call it what it is, a poor attempt to find justice,” the attorney said.
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El Paso Judge Frank Montalvo and a 14-member jury found Villegas and Urquidi guilty of various charges including conspiracy to possess narcotics, racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy to possess firearms. He also found Villegas guilty of other additional charges including conspiracy to kill in a foreign government and kidnapping.
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Guzman was convicted in New York on Feb. 12, 2019, of running an industrial-scale smuggling operation. He was sentenced to life in prison in July of that year.