Member of Sinaloa Cartel Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison for Distributing Cocaine and Heroin Shipped to Chicago from Mexico
NOV 18 (CHICAGO) - A high-ranking member of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico was sentenced today to 19 years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to transport large amounts of narcotics to the Chicago area.
Tomas Arevalo-Renteria directed a portion of the cartel’s U.S.-based couriers, who distributed large quantities of cocaine and heroin in Chicago and throughout the United States. He also coordinated logistics for the cartel and served as a broker in its efforts to ship the narcotics from Mexico.
Arevalo-Renteria, 46, pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and heroin. U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo imposed the 19-year sentence in federal court in Chicago.
“The defendant was a full functioning member of one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in existence,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Ferrara argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “The direct and indirect damage that those drugs have caused to communities in Chicago and elsewhere is immeasurable.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago has worked closely with federal and local law enforcement agencies to target senior leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel. Arevalo-Renteria is one of more than 20 alleged members of the cartel to be indicted in federal court in Chicago. The 2 indictments include charges against the cartel’s alleged leader, JOAQUIN “CHAPO” GUZMAN. The Chicago-based investigation has resulted in seizures of approximately $30.8 million, approximately eleven tons of cocaine, 265 kilograms of methamphetamine and 78 kilograms of heroin.
Arevalo-Renteria has been in U.S. custody since his arrest in his native Mexico in 2010. In his plea declaration, he admitted that he conspired with twin brothers from Chicago to distribute heroin and cocaine from 2005 to 2008. The twins, PEDRO FLORES and MARGARITO FLORES, operated a Chicago-based wholesale distribution network for both the Sinaloa Cartel and a rival organization.
In two separate transactions brokered by Arevalo-Renteria, the Flores brothers agreed in 2008 to purchase 27 kilograms of heroin from the Sinaloa Cartel, according to Arevalo-Renteria’s plea declaration. Unbeknownst to Arevalo-Renteria, the Flores brothers had begun cooperating with U.S. law enforcement and had provided information about the deals to investigators. The information allowed agents to seize the 27 kilograms of heroin.
The Flores brothers pleaded guilty to federal drug charges in 2012 and were each sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Arevalo-Renteria’s sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Dennis A. Wichern, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Stephen Boyd, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy.
The government is represented by Mr. Ferrara and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erika Csicsila, Georgia Alexakis, Kathryn Malizia, and Sean Franzblau.
Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.