EL PASO, Texas, July 16 (UPI) -- Arturo Lozano Méndez, a former Ciudad Juárez police officer and the suspected manager of the Sinaloa Cartel's drug warehouses in the border city, was scheduled to appear in U.S. federal court Monday in El Paso, Texas.
But Lozano refused to attend, waiving his right to an arraignment and a bond hearing. His defense attorney, Carlos Spector, said the court appointed him to Lozano's defense last week. Instead of appearing in court, Lozano took the opportunity to meet his defense lawyer and will remain in detention until his case goes to trial in November.
U.S. and Mexican authorities had been hunting for Lozano since he was indicted along with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán and two dozen other members of the Sinaloa Cartel in 2012. Lozano was extradited from Mexico to the United States through Ciudad Juárez 10 days ago.
"The extradition of Arturo Lozano-Mendez shows that Mexico's continued cooperation in targeting significant drug traffickers is critical to our mutual efforts to protect the public from the negative impact of the drug trade," stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Kyle Williamson in a press release Friday announcing Lozano's extradition.
Lozano, 47, was to be arraigned Monday in El Paso on charges of racketeering, drug distribution, international drug trafficking, money laundering and possessing firearms. By waiving his right to pre-trial hearings, Lozano's case will proceed to trial in November. John Bash, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas said Lozano faces life in prison.
Many of the alleged Sinaloa Cartel's top-tier drug traffickers have pleaded guilty or delayed their court appearances to find out how Guzman's trial will proceed. Mexican news outlet El Imparcial has reported many of his associates want to testify against him as key witnesses rather than as co-defendants and have avoided court appearances.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan for the Eastern District of New York agreed to push back Guzman's trial, scheduling it for November because government prosecutors failed to disclose to the drug kingpin's defense attorneys thousands of pages and hours of recordings collected as evidence.
Court documents allege Lozano is closely associated with Guzman's closest associate, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, a fugitive and current alleged leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. In January 2017 the Mexican government extradited Guzman to the United States and Zambada took over the running of the cartel.
The indictment against Guzman and the Sinaloa Cartel describes how the organization supplied money and arms to attack their rivals, the Juárez Cartel, from 2007 to 2012. Guzman's lieutenants sought to gain control over the valuable drug-smuggling routes to the United States through Ciudad Juárez.
The ensuing turf war between the rival cartels and the Mexican armed forces turned Ciudad Juárez, just across the river from El Paso, into a bloodbath, making it one of the world's most dangerous cities from 2007 to 2012. In 2010 when the violence reached its peak in Ciudad Juárez, 3,116 people were killed.
Side info and pic: Lozano Mendez is the half-brother of Jesus Rodrigo Fierro Ramirez and a former Chihuahua State Police officer. He is the right-hand man for Garduño and oversees his warehouses in Juarez.
Here's a previous post from siskiyou kid about who this guy was rolling with.
This post was updated on Dec 02, 2012; 9:57pm.
Putting Faces on the Story
I thought is might be nice to put some faces to the names in the indictment.
Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo aka “Jaguar,” “Tonin,” Catorce,” “14,” “Tono,” “El Uno”
José Antonio Torres Marrufo was an independent marijuana distributor in Villa Ahumada, Chihuahua, before the war broke out. He payed "piso de plaza" or tax for moving drugs though Juarez to Sergio Garduño Escobedo. When the war broke out José Antonio Torres Marrufo and others formed Gente Nueva and approached Guzman and Zambada for support in their war against the Juarez Cartel. He was detained on February 3 in the city of León, Guanajuato and presented before the Federal Police. Torres Marrufo is also leader of the group ‘Gente Nueva’ in Chihuahua and he is believed to be responsible for the sale and distribution of drugs to the United States on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Adrian Avila Ramirez aka “Bam Bam,” “Tacuba,” “El 19”
Avila Ramirez is a sicario who oversaw cocaine shipments from Guadalajara to Juarez for a cell run by Mario Núñez Meza, M-10.
Mario Núñez Meza aka “Mayito,” “M-10”
Núñez Meza is a former Mexican municipal police officer out of the Delicias station. He was put in charge of securing Chihuahua, Durango, Sinaloa, and Culiacan by Joaquin Guzman. He was responsible for managing Torres Marrufo's hit squads, before breaking away with his brother, M-11, to form his own organization based in Durango.
Amado Núñez Meza aka “Flaco,” “M-11,” “El Flais”
M-11 is the brother of Mario, M-10 and was in charge of the Durango plaza for the Sinaloa Cartel. He is responsible for assassin squads, drug trafficking and collection of proceeds in the state of Durango.
Sergio Garduño Escobedo aka “Coma”
Sergio Garduño Escobedo was the station commander for the Chihuahua State Police. Prior to the cartel war Sergio Garduño Escobedo was in charge of paying the Juarez Cartel the plaza tax on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel for permission to move narcotics through Juarez. He was the top lieutenant for Ismael Zambada in Juarez and he oversees security forces and warehouses that store thousands of kilos of marijuana and cocaine before shipment to the United States.
Sergio Garduño Escobedo's cell members included: Arturo Lozano Mendez, Jesus Rodrigo Fierro Ramirez, Mario De La O Lopez, David Sanchez Hernandez, Ivan Sanchez Hernandez, Fernando Arellano, Salvador Valdez, and others. Sergio Garduño Escobedo exclusively uses the cartoon character "Memin Pinguin" on his cocaine.
Jesus Rodrigo Fierro Ramirez aka “Huichi,” “Pena”
Huichi is a former Chihuahua State Police officer who moves large amounts of cocaine through Juarez. He is known for his extreme acts of violence, and was an enforcer for the Juarez Cartel, collecting plaza taxes from independent drug dealers.
Mario De La O Lopez aka “Flaco”
De La O is a former Chihuahua State Police officer. De La O is a top cocaine distributor known for his unique packaging techniques. Prior to as a top aide to Sergio Garduño Escobedo, both the Juarez and Sinaloa Cartels allowed De La O to package their cocaine before shipment to the United States.
Arturo Shows Urquidi aka “Chous”
Show Urquidi is a key member of Garduño Escobedo's cell in Juarez and was responsible for storing, packaging and guarding cocaine in Juarez.
Daniel Franco Lopez aka “Micha,” “Neon,” “Fer”
Franco Lopez was Torres Marrufo's right-hand man who coordinated shipments of marijuana and cocaine, collected proceeds, and planned kidnappings and murders for Torres Marrufo.
Luis Arellano Romero aka “Bichi,” Bichy,” “Helio”
Arellano Romero was the personal bodyguard for Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, the leader of Gente Nueva in Chihuahua. He participated in numerous kidnappings and murders in Juarez.
Fernando Arellano Romero aka “Rayo,” “24,” “Gamma,” “Blue Demon”
The brother of Luis Arellano Romero, Fernando is a former Chihuahua State Police homicide unit investigator. At the beginning of the war he was a sicario for Torres Marrufo.
Mario Alberto Iglesias Villegas aka “Dos,” “El 2,” “Delta,” “Parka,” “Grim Reaper,” “Daniel Cuellar Anchondo,” “Delfin”
Iglesias was a sicario for Torres Marrufo.
Emigdio Martinez, Jr. aka “Millo”
Martinez is a longtime trafficker of marijuana and cocaine with his family. He helped Torres Marrufo package and transport cocaine and marijuana into El Paso from Juarez.
Valentin Saenz De La Cruz aka “El Valle,” “Lic”
Saenz De La Cruz trafficked cocaine through Juarez.
David Sanchez Hernandez aka “Christian”
Sanchez Hernandez is a former Ciudad Juarez Municipal Police officer who was a large scale cocaine distributor who also was engaged in enforcement for the Sinaloa Cartel. He is responsible for the kidnapping, torture and murder of several individuals.
Ivan Sanchez Hernandez
Ivan is David Sanchez Hernadez's brother. He is a former Chihuahua State Police officer who was responsible for overseeing the offloading of cocaine at warehouses run by Garduño Escobedo in Juarez, before loading the trailers with weapons and cash for shipment to cartel superiors.
Gabino Salas Valenciano aka “El Ingeniero”
Salas Valenciano has distributed drugs for both the Juarez and Sinaloa Cartels. When the war broke out he aligned with Sinaloa. Salas is the Sinaloa plaza chief for the Valle de Juarez, where he oversees drug security, drug distribution, weapons procurement, and he oversees several squads of sicarios. Salas is a member of Gente Nueva.
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