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Central Texas federal jury finds drug cartel leader guilty of drug trafficking using firearms, money laundering

WACO, Texas — A federal jury on Tuesday convicted a Mexican drug cartel leader of drug trafficking using firearms, and money laundering.

This conviction was announced by the following agency heads: U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, Western District of Texas; Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio; Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard Goss, IRS’s Criminal Investigations San Antonio; Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Houston; Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, FBI San Antonio.

Jurors convicted Juan Francisco “Kiko” Trevino Chavez, 38, 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. Kiko Trevino is the nephew of Los Zetas leaders Miguel Angel Trevino Morales (Z-40) and Oscar Omar Trevino Morales (Z-42).

Evidence presented at trial revealed that from 2004 until September 2016, Kiko Trevino 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, 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.

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Trial evidence showed that Kiko Trevino participated in trafficking more than 250,000 kilograms (more than 550,000 pounds) of cocaine, hundreds of thousands of kilos of marijuana, and 800 firearms. 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); in this role he controlled all CDN drug and firearm trafficking, enforcement, and money laundering operations. Kiko Trevino continued in this leadership role until his arrest in 2016.

Kiko Trevino has remained in federal custody since his arrest in Baytown, Texas, on Sept. 28, 2016. He faces up to life in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Alia Moses in Waco will announce a date for sentencing at a later date.

These federal and state charges resulted from an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by the following agencies: HSI; IRS; DEA; FBI; ATF; U.S. Marshals Service; Texas Rangers; Texas Department of Public Safety; and the Texas police departments of: Irving Waco, Laredo and Leon Valley. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol, and Natalia (Texas) Police Department also provided support with this case.

The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering operations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

SOURCE- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)


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