Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"El Wicho," Matamoros Gulf Cartel Leader Pleads Guilty In Texas Federal Court

Jóse Luis Zúñiga Hernández

Drug charges dropped under a plea agreement.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 11, 2012

Brownsville - On Monday, Jóse Luis Zúñiga Hernández, 43, aka, "El Wicho" pleaded guilty for illegal re-entry to the U.S. and possession of a weapon by an undocumented felon in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas. Hernández with four other suspects were arrested on October 26, 2011 by U.S. Border Patrol agents.
A vehicle with five men, including Hernández was stopped by agents near Santa Maria, close to the eastern Hidalgo-Cameron County border. Hernández and the four suspects triggered a sensor on land, which alerted border agents of their activity. They later admitted to federal agents that they were undocumented.
Upon searching the vehicle, agents found a .38-caliber gold plated handgun with studded diamonds and rubies spelling Hernández alias, "Wicho." They also recovered four bags of cocaine and $20,000 in cash. Under a plea agreement, Hernández' drug charges were dropped.
Hernández admitted, he participated in several homicides in Mexico and was the Gulf Cartel leader in the Matamoros area.
He is facing up to 20 years in a federal prison for re-entry to the U.S. and 10 years for possession of a weapon by an undocumented felon, including $250,000 fine for each count, according to the criminal complaint. He will be sentenced on April 16, by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen.
Hernández was convicted in 1990 for drug charges and was deported in 1997.
He fled Mexico to avoid being killed because Hernández was being targeted by Los Zetas, according to feds. Hernández is wanted in Mexico for operating a criminal organization, drug trafficking, smuggling cocaine, including marijuana and connection to several homicides.

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