Mexican Cartel Member Sentenced to Life in Prison for Violating RICO Statute (2024)

Mexican Cartel Member Sentenced to Life in Prison for Violating RICO Statute

EL PASO – A Mexican national was sentenced today to life in prison for his role in the Sinaloa Cartel’s narcotics distribution operations.

According to court documents, Arturo Shows Urquidi, aka “Chous,” 50, of Juarez, was a former Chihuahua State police officer and a long-time member of the Sinaloa Cartel under Ismael “Mayo” Zambada-Garcia. Shows assisted in the security of stash houses where thousands of kilograms of cocaine were unloaded from tanker trucks and then reloaded with weapons and money headed for Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. During his involvement with the Sinaloa Cartel, the Cartel successfully imported thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the United States worth over $1 billion.

On October 22, 2021, a federal jury in El Paso convicted Shows of one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization statute (RICO) for his role as a member of the Sinaloa Cartel; one count of conspiracy to possess cocaine and marijuana; one count of conspiracy to import cocaine and marijuana; one count of conspiracy to launder money; and one count of conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes.

“Investigating and prosecuting members of dangerous transnational criminal organizations remains a top priority of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “This sentence is a significant step in holding the members of the Sinaloa Cartel accountable for the crimes they have committed for years. The prosecution of this case clearly demonstrates how strong cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies can effectively combat the illegal activity of transnational criminal organizations.”

“The sentencing of Arturo Shows Urquidi is the culmination of years of work to investigate and bring to justice a significant member of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel,” said Greg Millard, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Division. “It demonstrates our commitment, along with that of our U.S. and foreign law enforcement partners, to pursue violent drug traffickers who seek to destroy our communities for profit.”

“The sentencing of Shows Urquidi is another strike against members of the Sinaloa Cartel and highlights the long arm of the law reaching across international borders,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey R. Downey, El Paso Field Office. “Today exemplifies our commitment to prevent violence and criminal activity from poisoning the communities of El Paso and our sister city, Ciudad Juarez. It also sends a clear message that we and our partners will relentlessly pursue and prosecute the leaders and members of these violent drug enterprises.”

“Our ability to bring to justice extremely violent members of criminal organizations, such as the Sinaloa Cartel, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our Federal, State, and local law enforcement partners that assisted in this multi-year investigation. It is a priority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives and Firearms (ATF), to target these organizations that are responsible for transnational gun crime and violence” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joshua Hernandez, Dallas Division.

In addition to the above charges, Shows’ co-defendant, Mario Iglesias-Villegas, aka “Dos,” “El 2,” “Delta,” “Parka,” “Grim Reaper,” 36, of Villa Ahumada, was also found guilty of five counts of violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity; one count of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country; and one count of kidnapping. Iglesias is scheduled for sentencing on March 24, 2022.

The Sinaloa Cartel’s criminal activity in the Ciudad Juarez and El Paso area included the violence that occurred during the war between the Juarez Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel, which led to the death of thousands of people in Ciudad Juarez and throughout the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Durango. The violence gave rise to Ciudad Juarez being named the “deadliest city in the world.”

This investigation resulted in the seizure of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine, thousands of pounds of marijuana in cities throughout the United States. Law Enforcement also took possession of millions of dollars in drug proceeds which were destined to be returned to the Cartel in Mexico. Agents and officers likewise seized hundreds of weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition intended to be smuggled into Mexico to assist the Cartel’s battle to take control of Juarez and the local drug trafficking corridors.

The DEA, FBI, and ATF together with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement–Homeland Security Investigations, United States Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, United States Marshals Service, El Paso Police Department, El Paso Sheriff’s Office, and the Texas Department of Public Safety investigated this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Antonio Franco, Kristal Wade, Kyle Myers, and Michael Williams prosecuted the case.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

Mexican Cartel Member Sentenced to Life in Prison for Violating RICO Statute (2024)


What was the Sinaloa cartel sentence? ›

On May 2, Roque Bustamante was sentenced to life in prison, Grupee was sentenced to 262 months in prison, and Chavez was sentenced to 57 months in prison. On March 21, Apodaca-Alvarez was sentenced to life in prison, Moreno was sentenced to 121 months in prison, and Zaragoza was sentenced to 47 months in prison.

Where is Chapo Guzman now? ›

Guzman is serving a life sentence in a Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, which houses numerous high-profile inmates. He was convicted in 2019 of charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and weapons-related offenses.

How much money is the Sinaloa cartel worth? ›

Estimates of its annual revenue ranged from $3 billion to $39 billion. While other organizations expanded into human trafficking and extortion, among other activities, the Sinaloa cartel remained largely centred on drugs.

What is the biggest drug cartel in the world? ›

The 5 Most Powerful Drug Cartels in the World
  • Sinaloa Cartel.
  • Medellin Cartel.
  • Gulf Cartel.
  • Los Zetas.
  • Juarez Cartel.
Jan 24, 2024

Who is the most powerful Mexican cartel? ›

The Sinaloa Cartel, often considered the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization in the Western Hemisphere, is a network of some of Mexico's most important drug lords.

Are there cartels in the US? ›

(NewsNation) — Two powerful Mexican drug cartels are not only operating fentanyl and other illicit drug markets in all 50 U.S. states but have also successfully eliminated their drug-dealing competition using violence and other means, according to a report issued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Where is El Mencho now? ›

According to the Mexican government, El Mencho may be hiding in the state of Jalisco, the CJNG's stronghold. They believe he does not stay in one place for long, and travels across several municipalities in Jalisco and into the states of Michoacán, Colima, and Nayarit.

Who runs the Sinaloa cartel in 2024? ›

Sinaloa Cartel
Cártel de Sinaloa
Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico
Years active1987–present
Territoryshow List of areas
Leader(s)Ismael Zambada García, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar, Joaquín Guzmán López
5 more rows

Can El Chapo talk to anyone? ›

Mexico's once most powerful drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is claiming he cannot get phone calls or visits in the maximum security U.S. prison where he is serving a life sentence.

Who is the richest female cartel? ›

Blanco was a key figure in the establishment of the cocaine trade between Colombia and large North American cities like Miami and New York, as well as to dealers in California. Her distribution network, which spanned across the United States and Colombia, earned $80 million per month.

Who do cartels target? ›

Women are often prime targets. Cartel associates have pursued single women on reservations, according to law enforcement and tribal officials, and then used their homes as bases of operations.

What do cartels do to their victims? ›

Sex trafficking and rape

Sex trafficking in Mexico is a significant problem. Cartels and gangs fighting in the Mexican War on Drugs have sex trafficked women and girls in order to obtain additional profits. The cartels and gangs also abduct women to use as their personal sex slaves and force them into unfree labour.

What is the most feared drug cartel? ›

According to court documents, the Sinaloa Cartel is one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico and is responsible for a substantial portion of the fentanyl that is manufactured and imported for distribution in the United States.

Are sicarios real? ›

The Sicarii are regarded as one of the earliest known organized assassination units of cloak and daggers, predating the Order of Assassins and the Japanese ninja by centuries. The derived Spanish term sicario is used in contemporary Latin America to describe a hitman.

What drug lords are still alive? ›

Still out there
  • Ismael Zambada. Alias: El Mayo, (after an indigenous Sinaloan people), El Rey (The King), The MZ. Joint Head of the Sinaloa cartel. Wikipedia. ...
  • Juan Jose Esparragoza. Alias: El Azul (Blue) Joint Head of the Sinaloa cartel. ...
  • Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes. Alias: El Mencho. Head of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
Jul 30, 2016

Who was Conrado Sol in real life? ›

Even Conrado Sol seems to be Genaro García Luna. The murder of a cardinal in Guadalajara was real. The massacres by the Zetas on innocent people are real.

Who runs the Sinaloa cartel now? ›

After the arrest of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and his son Ovidio Guzmán López in 2016 and 2023 respectively, the cartel is headed by old-school leader Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada and Guzmán's other sons, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán and Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar.

Who is the most powerful drug lord in the world? ›

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán

Guzman is the most notorious drug lord of all time, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

What is the US doing about the Sinaloa cartel? ›

The United States is sanctioning ten individuals involved in the production of illicit drugs, including nine Sinaloa Cartel member in Mexico and the leader of the Clan del Golfo, one of Colombia's largest criminal enterprises responsible for the majority of the cocaine production and trafficking in Colombia.

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