Three members of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel have been sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment each on drugs and weapons charges.
Among them was Mario Casarrubias Salgado, also known as “El Sapo Guapo,” or “The Handsome Toad,” one of the cartel’s founders.
All three had been arrested in April 2014 and found in possession of cocaine and illegal firearms.
The cartel is a splinter group of the Beltrán Leyva Organization (BLO), having formed in 2009 after the death of BLO chief Arturo Beltrán Leyva.
It earned international notoriety after federal authorities said they were responsible for the deaths of the 43 teacher-training students who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, in September 2014.
Today, opinion is divided over the cartel’s strength.
The Guerrero Coordination Group, a joint security agency, said earlier this month the cartel had been practically dismantled as a result of efforts by security forces that followed the students’ disappearance in Iguala.
Coordination Group spokesman Roberto Alvarez Heredia said on November 3 the gang was in the process of disappearing following the capture of its principal founders.
But earlier the same day the United States Drug Enforcement Administration said in a report it was concerned about the gang’s rapid expansion in the U.S., where it was shipping heroin to Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Indiana and New Jersey.
The Guerreros Unidos, the report said, had become a transational criminal organization whose growth was “worrying.” It said the gang, along with other cartels, had established distribution routes for moving heroin and fentanyl from Mexico to Pittsburgh by bus.
Source: El Universal (sp)