Another day, another international drug kingpin goes down. On Tuesday (February 23), Alfredo Beltrán Leyva a.k.a. “El Mochomo” (translated as “The Desert Ant”), leader of the Mexican Beltrán Leyva cartel, pleaded guilty in US Federal Court to charges stemming from his involvement in an international drug trafficking conspiracy. He was indicted in August 2012 and extradited to the US from Mexico in November 2014.
El Mochomo created his organization in Sinaloa, along with his brothers Héctor, Carlos and Arturo in the 1970s. The was a splinter group of Sinaloa cartel, and El Mochomo was one of El Chapo’s top lieutenants . He was arrested in January 2008 with three security guards in Culiacán. Police found him with two suitcases filled with $900,000 in cash and upscale watches. Additionally, the authorities seized 20 fragmentation grenades, automatic weapons, rifles and 40 bulletproof vests. The BLO blamed El Chapo for El Mochomo’s arrest, suspecting that he cooperated with the feds. Due to this suspicion, the group split from the Sinaloa cartel and became its own entity and allied with Los Zetas. In retaliation, Beltrán Leyva assassins killed the son of a Sinaloa chief in a grenade attack at a Culiacán shopping center.
El Mochomo decided to forego trial with the guilty plea,in spite of pleading not guilty to conspiring to smuggle large quantities of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine into the US. He is expected to learn his fate in June. He faces 10 years to life in prison. Prosecutors are gunning for the latter.
According to reports, more than 97 percent of federal drug cases do not go to trial. Although there is no plea bargain in place El Mochomo as of now, negotiations may come about if he puts himself in position to do what he and El Chapo fell out over: cooperate with the feds. May folks in similar predicaments do so for reduced sentences, safely for their families to come into the US and/or protection of assets. If the cooperation is substantial enough, prosecutors can request a sentence reduction from the judge a year removed from sentencing under “Rule 35.”