Mexican officials extradited the man who allegedly oversaw El Chapo’s financial operations to the U.S. over the weekend as the feds continued to turn up the heat on the Sinaloa Cartel.
Jorge Pérez was handed over to U.S. federal agents at Mexico City International Airport on Sunday and flown to Washington, D.C., where he faces multiple charges.
According to the Attorney General’s Office of Mexico, Pérez reportedly functioned as the transnational criminal organization’s financial officer.
He is accused of overseeing the criminal organization’s cash flow and was in charge of trafficking drugs from Latin America to the United States.
His extradition comes as U.S. officials have tightened their squeeze on the Sinaloa Cartel, run by El Chapo, who is being held at a super maximum penitentiary in Florence, Colorado.
Already, U.S. authorities have arrested his wife Emma Coronel, who is being held at a prison in Virginia. Last Wednesday, a San Diego court sentenced Jorge Sánchez, who was accused of building secret drug trafficking tunnels between Mexico and California, to 10 years and one month in prison.
Jorge Pérez was extradited from Mexico to the United States on Sunday. Pérez reportedly was the Sinaloa Cartel’s financial officer and also functioned as the middle man between the cartel and other drug trafficking groups in Guatemala and Colombia that sent cocaine shipments to Mexico before they were smuggled across the United States southwestern border. He faces multiple drug trafficking related charges in Washington, D.C.
Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s Sinaloa Cartel was known for using underground passageways to smuggle drugs from Tijuana, Mexico to San Diego
The Attorney General’s Office of Mexico alleges that Pérez also served as a liaison between the Sinaloa Cartel and other drug trafficking groups in Guatemala and Colombia that sent cocaine shipments to Mexico before they were smuggled across the United States southwestern border.
Pérez had been in custody of Mexican authorities following his arrest on May 14, 2016 and was being held at the Altiplano maximum security prison, where El Chapo infamously escaped from through a tunnel built underneath his jail cell bathroom.
He is the second Sinaloa Cartel operative to make headlines over the last week.
Sánchez, who was the architect of several tunnels that were used by the cartel to smuggle marijuana from Tijuana, Mexico to southern California, was sentenced by a federal district court in San Diego.
The 58-year-old admitted to planning, covering the cost and overseeing the construction of cross-border tunnels from 2010 to 2012, but was only charged in connection for two of them from where authorities confiscated over 50 tons of marijuana.
During his sentencing hearing, Sánchez told the judge, ‘I promise I will not do anything illegal again, because the easy way to get money is usually the bad way to get it.’
A San Diego federal court sentenced José Sánchez to 10 years and one month in prison during a court hearing Wednesday. Sánchez admitted to being the mastermind of the construction of various underground passages that allowed Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s transnational organization to smuggle drugs from Tijuana, Mexico to San Diego
Jorge Gastelum or Orso Gastelum, also known as ‘El Cholo Iván,’ was unsuccessful last month when a Mexican court refused to overturn his pending extradition to the United States. Gastelum served as El Chapo’s security chief and commandeered all of the cartel’s assassin squadron and was with him when the Sinaloa Cartel co-founder was arrested in January 2016
Emma Coronel (left) is slated to be sentenced September 15 after pleading guilty in June to charges in the U.S. and admitting that she helped her husband, El Chapo, run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire
On July 14, a Mexican court rejected an appeal by the legal team of Jorge Gastelum or Orso Gastelum, otherwise known as ‘El Cholo Iván,’ to have his extradition to the United States shot down.
Gastelum served as El Chapo’s security chief and commandeered all of the cartel’s assassin squadron.
He was captured on January 8, 2016 alongside El Chapo when security forces raided the then-fugitive drug lord’s safehouse in the Sinaloa Pacific coast city of Los Mochis, sparking a gun battle that left five cartel members dead and six others arrested.
Both men fled through a tunnel connected to the home and climbed out of a manhole before they highjacked several vehicles. They were apprehended at a roadside checkpoint and taken to a local hotel in the outskirts of Los Mochis following rumors that Sinaloa Cartel henchmen were on their way to free them. Mexican prosecutors had previously charged Gastelum with unlawful possession of a firearm, homicide and the assault soldiers in 2013.
While El Chapo serves his life sentence at ADX Florence supermax prison in Colorado, his wife and mother of twin daughter, Coronel, awaits to be sentenced September 15 by a federal district court in Washington, D.C.
Coronel, who holds dual Mexico-US citizenship, acknowledged in June helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar drug trafficking empire.
As part of a deal with federal prosecutors, she pleaded guilty to international drug trafficking, money laundering, and a criminal violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.