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Alleged Mexican drug cartel leader extradited to U.S.

NEW YORK -- The alleged leader of a Mexican drug cartel, MSO, is expected to be arraigned at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn later today on charges that he imported tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the United States, according to a statement from the United States District Attorney's Office.

Tirso Martinez-Sanchez, a Mexican native, was arrested in Mexico on Feb. 2, 2014 and was extradited from Mexico to the United States on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015.

As the alleged leader of "an extensive transnational narcotics importation, distribution, and transportation organization" Martinez-Sanchez is said to have obtained multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombian sources; organized importing the drugs into the United States using a transportation network that included trains and tractor trailers; and directed cartel members to transport the cocaine to large distribution centers, including some located in the Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago metropolitan areas.

During the course of the investigation, agents allegedly seized approximately 500 kilograms of cocaine from a residence in Deer Park, New York; 2,000 kilograms of the drug from a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York; 2,000 kilograms hidden inside a railroad car in Queens, New York; 1,100 kilograms of cocaine from a warehouse in El Paso, Texas; and 1,900 kilograms of cocaine from a warehouse in Chicago, Illinois.

Martinez-Sanchez allegedly directed cartel members to coordinate storing the drugs in a large network of stash warehouses by purchasing and leasing numerous front companies, which were also used to buy vehicles to transport the drugs to a distributor who sold throughout New York and other states, including California and Illinois, the U.S. Attorney's Office alleges.

Martinez-Sanchez also supposedly oversaw collection of the organization's proceeds from the drug sales, which were allegedly stored in stash-houses and some it moved out of the country using the same transportation network of tractor trailers and trains used to smuggle the cocaine in.

The proceeds were then laundered through business ventures, such as the purchase of professional soccer teams, and a chain of high-end clothing boutiques, as well as invested back into the purchase of lease of stash-houses, vehicles to transport the drugs and front businesses, according to the allegations.

In addition to coordinating the distribution of his own organization's cocaine, Martinez- Sanchez also allegedly transported and distributed narcotics for members of other Mexican drug cartels, including the Sinaloa Cartel, led by CPOTs Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Ismael "Mayo" Zambada; the Juarez Cartel, led by CPOT Vicente Carillo-Fuentes and the Beltran- Leyva Cartel, led by brothers Arturo, Hector and Alfredo Beltran-Leyva.

Martinez-Sanchez had been designated a Consolidated Priority Organization Target by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

The Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York Office, led the investigation working with the HSI Mexico Country Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, the DEA Mexico Country Office and the Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs.

"The charges announced today reflect our ongoing efforts to target and dismantle the largest drug trafficking organizations in the world, whose multi-billion dollar criminal networks funnel drugs onto our streets and spread violence into our communities," U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers said in a statement. "We will continue to work together with our law enforcement partners in Mexico to root out the leaders of these insidious cartels wherever they may be found and bring them to justice."