Drug cartel leader to be sentenced in Waco


A leader of a Mexican drug cartel accused of taking part in bringing in hundreds of thousands of kilos of marijuana and cocaine along with trafficking hundreds of weapons is set to be sentenced Thursday in federal court in Waco.

Back in June, a federal jury convicted 38-year-old Juan Francisco ” Kiko” Trevino Chavez, a leader of Cartel del Noreste and nephew of Los Zetas leaders on charges of drug trafficking, firearms trafficking and money laundering.

Jurors convicted the defendant on one count each of conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute,  conspiracy to import marijuana, unlawful distribution of controlled substances (extra-territorial), conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Evidence presented at trial revealed that from 2004 until September 2016, the defendant was a member of the Los Zetas, a transnational drug trafficking organization operating primarily in the Mexican corridors of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Ciudad Acuna and Piedras Negras, Coahuila.

Evidence further revealed that Kiko Trevino met with and conspired with the highest level operatives in the criminal organization, including his uncles, known as Z-40 and Z-42.

Evidence also revealed that Kiko Trevino organized the source and distribution of large quantities of
narcotics, laundered drug proceeds, and controlled cells of traffickers and a group of armed sicarios in the Nueva Laredo area.

The trial evidence showed the Defendant participated in the trafficking of more than 250,000 kilos of cocaine, hundreds of thousands of kilos of marijuana, and 800 firearms.

The evidence further described the laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars in drug proceeds.

Finally, trial testimony revealed that after his uncles’ arrests, Los Zetas splintered into two groups and Kiko Trevino took over leadership of one of those two groups, the Cartel Del Noreste (CDN), and in this role controlled all of the drug and firearm trafficking, enforcement, and money laundering operations of CDN, continuing in this leadership role until his arrest in 2016.

Kiko Trevino has remained in federal custody since his arrest in Baytown, TX, on September 28, 2016 and faces up to life in federal prison. 

The trial was moved to Waco from Del Rio and was heard before U.S. District Judge Alia Moses.

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