A Chinese-Mexican methamphetamine trafficker who operated in Mexico has been sentenced to 25 years in prison while the alleged leader of the operation -- his cousin -- awaits extradition back to Mexico from the United States, in a case highlighting the Sinaloa Cartel's Asian connections.
A court in Mexico State capital Toluca found Ye Yong Qing guilty of organized crime, synthetic drug production and activities involving the use of illicit funds, reported Milenio. Yong Qing worked as part of a methamphetamine trafficking organization run by his cousin, Zhenli Ye Gon. Yong Qing was Ye Gon's business partner in a company established in Toluca with money from criminal activities, reported Proceso. Another suspected member of the organization, Fu Huaxin, was absolved of similar charges.
InSight Crime Analysis
Ye Gon is seen as a pioneer of sorts who -- by trading with Asia through third countries -- opened the way for massive production of methamphetamines in the Western Hemisphere and gave the Sinaloa Cartel a major foothold in the Far East. He owned several pharmaceutical companies in Mexico and reportedly worked as the Sinaloa Cartel's biggest precursor chemical provider, using his Chinese connections to facilitate numerous shipments into Argentina that were later sent to Mexico. He was also a client of HSBC's Mexico branch, HBMX, believed to have moved some $90 million through HSBC and another three Mexico-based banks.
In 2007, after authorities in Mexico discovered over $205 million in cash along with weapons in his house, Ye Gon fled the country. He was later captured and tried in the US for conspiring to manufacture methamphetamines.
However, in an ironic twist, these US charges were dismissed with prejudice -- meaning he cannot be re-tried in the US -- in 2009 due to a lack of evidence. After a failed attempt to file for habeas corpus to get released from prison, Ye Gon now awaits extradition to Mexico where he faces drug, money laundering and illegal arms possession charges.
SEE ALSO: Sinaloa Cartel News and Profiles
Still, the Sinaloa Cartel's contacts with Asia remain strong and may be growing. There are reports of Sinaloa Cartel operatives running a methamphetamine lab in Malaysia, purchasing heroin in Afghanistan and the cartel sending hit men to kill off arrested associates in the Philippines. In January, Sin Embargo reported the Mexican organization relied on two groups from China for the primary materials used to make methamphetamines.