Sinaloa Drug Cartel|Boss Pleads Guilty

     SAN DIEGO (CN) – A top member of the Sinaloa drug cartel pleaded guilty Wednesday to smuggling tons of cocaine and marijuana into the United States, and ordering the violence associated with it.
     Jose Rodrigo Arechiga-Gamboa, 34, aka “Chino Antrax,” faces up to life in federal prison, and agreed to cough up $1 million in dirty money, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He will be sentenced on Oct. 16.
     Arechiga admitted in his plea agreement that the Culiacan-based cartel uses violence to intimidate rivals, and that he was “a direct participant in, and communicated to other members of the Sinaloa Cartel, orders to commit acts of violence or threats of violence,” the U.S. attorney said in a statement.
     The Sinaloa cartel is one of the oldest in Mexico. Arechiga’s shelving is not expected to affect the drug trade much, as rivals and his own lieutenants and assassins are always ready to step up into higher jobs. Arechiga himself is believed to have started working for the cartel as a bodyguard, a job that often includes assassinations.
     Prosecutors said that when Arechiga became a cartel boss he underwent plastic surgery, assumed the name of a dead man, and had more surgery to try to alter his fingerprints. He was arrested at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on Dec. 30, 2013.

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