The U.S. Department of Justice described the circumstances of the criminal activity in a news release published on Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Richard Schell sentenced 43-year-old Jose Guizar-Valencia and 53-year-old Francisco Hernandez-Garcia each to 40 years in federal prison on charges of money laundering, cocaine trafficking, and conspiracy.
The DOJ indicated that Guizar-Valencia was a resident of Tulare, California, while Hernandez-Garcia is from San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Both convicts pleaded guilty in December 2021. The convictions stem from an investigation launched in January 2010 into criminal activity occurring in the boundaries of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Guizar-Valencia and Hernandez-Garcia were among a set of three cartel members that U.S. authorities considered to be the main lieutenants to the leaders of Los Zetas.
“During the investigation, Guizar-Valencia was identified as one of the top leaders of the cartel who was responsible for overseeing the cartel’s drug distribution, firearms trafficking, and bulk cash smuggling,” the DOJ stated.
Prosecutors alleged that Guizar-Valencia orchestrated much of the cartel’s trafficking of cocaine from Central America to the U.S. He also handled the profits, which were used to illegally purchase firearms and continue the operations of the criminal organization.
“Guizar-Valencia, operating in Guatemala, was responsible for overseeing ton-quantity shipments of cocaine from Guatemala to Mexico and coordinated the transportation of the cocaine from Southern Mexico to Coahuila, Mexico,” the DOJ explained.
Last month, other Los Zetas members received sentences ranging from 40 years to life imprisonment.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."