Inside the Cartel

July 28, 2011  By Richard Marosi
The DEA used this so­ci­ety-page pho­to­graph from a Mex­ic­an news­pa­per to identi­fy Blanca Caz­ares. She al­legedly handled money-laun­der­ing op­er­a­tions for her broth­er, Vic­tor Emilio Caz­ares, one of Mex­ico’s most wanted drug traf­fick­ing sus­pects. She is a fu­git­ive.
July 28, 2011  By Richard Marosi
In 2007, Pres­id­ent George W. Bush de­clared Vic­tor Emilio Caz­ares a “drug king­pin” un­der the For­eign Nar­cot­ics King­pin Des­ig­na­tion Act. His sis­ter Blanca Caz­ares, who al­legedly headed the car­tel’s money-laun­der­ing op­er­a­tion, was also tar­geted for fin­an­cial sanc­tions.
July 28, 2011  By Richard Marosi
Tar­gets in the in­dict­ment spanned the car­tel’s hier­archy, from the al­leged lead­er of the or­gan­iz­a­tion, Vic­tor Emilio Caz­ares, to mid-level dis­trib­ut­ors and load car co­ordin­at­ors to low-level lookouts like Roberto Daniel Lopez. Au­thor­it­ies dis­mantled the net­work and ar­res­ted more than 400 ad­di­tion­al sus­pects con­nec­ted to the ring. Caz­ares re­mains a fu­git­ive.
July 28, 2011  By Richard Marosi
Op­er­a­tion Im­per­i­al Em­per­or was touted by the DEA as one of the agency’s top ac­com­plish­ments of the 2000s, and the agents in­volved re­ceived pres­ti­gi­ous law en­force­ment awards.
July 28, 2011  By Richard Marosi
Blanca “The Empress” Caz­ares was charged with run­ning a cell of money cour­i­ers that al­legedly laundered mil­lions of dol­lars in drug pro­ceeds for her broth­er, Vic­tor Emilio Caz­ares. The or­gan­iz­a­tion al­legedly in­cluded fam­ily mem­bers and re­l­at­ives who lived in Bell, out­side Los Angeles. Blanca Caz­ares is a fu­git­ive.
July 26, 2011  By Richard Marosi
These 1981 Los Angeles Times art­icles re­por­ted on a case that hal­ted John Ward’s smug­gling ca­reer for sev­er­al years.
July 26, 2011  By Richard Marosi
These DEA in­vest­ig­a­tion re­ports de­tail the bust of Noe Coron­ado, John Ward’s Pennsylvania con­tact. DEA agents des­cen­ded on him dur­ing a drug trans­ac­tion and then raided his home, find­ing $1.8 mil­lion.
July 26, 2011  By Richard Marosi
Psych­ics are so much a part of Sin­aloa car­tel op­er­a­tions that judges fre­quently al­low au­thor­it­ies to wiretap their con­ver­sa­tions with sus­pects. In this sum­mary of a wiretap op­er­a­tion, Ra­fael Domin­guez, John Ward’s part­ner, asks his psych­ic (UF, for uniden­ti­fied fe­male) for help im­prov­ing his luck.
July 26, 2011  By Richard Marosi
John Ward used dozens of air­ports over the years for re­fuel­ing stops dur­ing his cross-coun­try flights. These DEA re­ports de­tail the dis­cov­ery of three of his fa­vor­ite air­ports.
July 26, 2011  By Richard Marosi
John Ward used mainly cash for fuel and hotel stays, but his oc­ca­sion­al use of deb­it and cred­it cards left enough of a pa­per trail for DEA agents to track his stops from Pennsylvania to his ho­met­own of Carls­bad.
July 25, 2011  By Richard Marosi
Gab­ri­el Dieblas Ro­man’s back­ground fits the pro­file of many Sin­aloa car­tel op­er­at­ives in the U.S. They are mostly work­ing-class im­mig­rants from Mex­ico’s Sin­aloa state who stay clear of law en­force­ment, lead low-pro­file lives, and take big risks for re­l­at­ively small re­wards.
July 25, 2011  By Richard Marosi
Psych­ics are so much a part of Sin­aloa car­tel op­er­a­tions that judges fre­quently al­low au­thor­it­ies to wiretap their con­ver­sa­tions with sus­pects. In this tran­script of a DEA-in­ter­cep­ted call, drug traf­fick­er Gab­ri­el Dieblas Ro­man wants his psych­ic, Guada­lupe “Lupita” Vil­lalobos, to help him with spir­itu­al ad­vice but says he can’t af­ford to pay her. He of­fers to show her the po­lice re­port of a re­cent bust. But the psych­ic (UF 390, ...
July 25, 2011  By Richard Marosi
The DEA raided a Para­mount stash house after smug­glers brought three co­caine ship­ments there from the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der. After the bust, car­tel high­er-ups summoned those in­volved to Sin­aloa for a meet­ing to as­sign blame. The stash house op­er­at­or, Eli­gio “Pes­cado” Ri­os, was kid­napped and beaten by car­tel en­for­cers.
July 25, 2011  By Richard Marosi
Psych­ics are so much a part of Sin­aloa car­tel op­er­a­tions that judges fre­quently al­low au­thor­it­ies to wiretap their con­ver­sa­tions with sus­pects. In this crim­in­al com­plaint against Gab­ri­el Dieblas Ro­man, his call to his psych­ic is used as evid­ence of a drug con­spir­acy.
July 25, 2011  By Richard Marosi
Two of Gab­ri­el Dieblas Ro­man’s sus­pec­ted truck­ers were stopped by Mis­souri state of­ficers, who found 264 pounds of co­caine hid­den in the trail­er.
July 23, 2011  By Richard Marosi
A DEA task force fol­lowed a load car from the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der and handed over sur­veil­lance to a nar­cot­ics task force from River­side County. More than 14 of­ficers tracked the car over free­ways and sub­urb­an streets. After the drugs were de­livered, au­thor­it­ies des­cen­ded, seiz­ing 55 pounds of co­caine from a stash house and $50,000 from a hid­den com­part­ment in the car.
July 23, 2011  By Richard Marosi
Car­los “Charlie” Cuevas is one of the few mem­bers of the Sin­aloa car­tel who has co­oper­ated with the U.S. gov­ern­ment. His plea agree­ment and court testi­mony gave au­thor­it­ies a rare glimpse in­to the in­ner work­ings of Mex­ico’s most power­ful or­gan­ized crime group.
July 23, 2011  By Richard Marosi
Car­los “Charlie” Cuevas is one of the few mem­bers of the Sin­aloa car­tel who has co­oper­ated with U.S. au­thor­it­ies. In this DEA sum­mary of one de­brief­ing, Cuevas provides de­tails on how his cell re­cruited drivers and hid drugs in vehicles.
July 23, 2011  By Richard Marosi
Car­los “Charlie” Cuevas is one of the few Sin­aloa car­tel mem­bers to ever testi­fy in court against as­so­ci­ates. His testi­mony de­tailed his op­er­a­tions and con­nec­tions to top bosses in Sin­aloa.
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