HomeNewsBriefMexico Drug Kingpin Pleads Guilty in US Court
BRIEF

Mexico Drug Kingpin Pleads Guilty in US Court

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 24 FEB 2016 BY SAM TABORY EN

A leader of Mexico's Beltrán Leyva Organization has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges in US Federal Court, marking yet another drug kingpin who has chosen to forego trial in exchange for a possible plea deal. 

Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, alias "El Mochomo," pleaded guilty in US Federal Court on February 23 to charges of participating in an international drug trafficking conspiracy. Beltrán Leyva was indicted by US authorities in August 2012 and was extradited from Mexico to the United States in November of 2014. 

Alfredo is a former leader of the Beltrán Leyva Organization (BLO), a Mexican drug trafficking group responsible for smuggling multi-ton shipments of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States. The BLO worked alongside Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's Sinaloa Cartel for years, but the two groups split following suspicion that El Chapo provided information to authorities that led to Beltrán Leyva's arrest in 2008. 

Beltrán Leyva is expected be sentenced in June 2016. He faces a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. Prosecutors have reportedly asked for a life sentence. 

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division Joseph Campbell, and the head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration Chuck Rosenberg were all present to announce the guilty plea. US authorities explicitly thanked their Mexican counterparts for their assistance with the case. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

Beltrán Leyva's guilty plea should not come as a surprise, despite previous reports that he was maintaining his innocence and unlikely to plead guilty. More than 97 percent of all federal drug cases do not go to trial, with defendants instead opting for plea agreements. 

Although there is no known plea bargain on the table for Beltrán Leyva, the drug kingpin is probably positioning himself to negotiate with prosecutors in exchange for future cooperation. Based on previous kingpin cases, any such negotiations would likely focus on a reduced sentence, securing safe passage for family members to come to the United States, and ensuring the protection of semi-legal assets. A future reduction in prison time could also be negotiated under what is known as "Rule 35," in which prosecutors can ask the judge for a revised sentence one year after sentencing, usually in exchange for substantial cooperation and assistance. 

Beltrán Leyva's case may also be a preview of how events unfold for his ally-turned-enemy El Chapo, who is awaiting extradition to the United States following his recapture in January

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 17 DEC 2012

The plane crash in which Mexican American singer Jenni Rivera and five others died last week may have been related…

EL CHAPO / 6 MAR 2013

Forbes' decision to remove Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the elusive leader of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, from its billionaires…

MEXICO / 30 SEP 2011

Despite its inflammatory title, "Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars" is a thoughtful text, which warns not…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.