BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Just hours after having been extradited from Mexico, the man who at one time ran one of Mexico’s most powerful cartels went before a U.S. federal Judge to face multiple drug charges.
Under an extremely large security detail, Jorge Eduardo “El Coss” Costilla, went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan who arraigned him on multiple drug conspiracy and money laundering charges and ordered he be held without bond. During the hearing, Brownsville attorney Ed Cyganiewicz represented Costilla, however it remains unclear if the trial will be moved to a different venue or if it will remain in Brownsville.
The charges against Costilla stem from a year’s long investigation into the workings of the Gulf Cartel by Homeland Security Investigations. Costilla had inherited the leadership of the Gulf Cartel from his mentor Osiel Cardenas Guillen after his extradition to the U.S. in 2007.
During Costilla’s reign, the Gulf Cartel’s chief enforcers the feared Los Zetas ended up splintering and creating their own cartel. In early 2010 the two organizations went to war over drug trafficking territories in a war that continues to this day.
Also during Costilla’s reign, the Gulf Cartel went through various internal conflicts that resulted in the once vast criminal empire splintering into regional groups. Two of those regional groups named Los Metros and Los Ciclones went to war earlier this year setting off a series of fierce gun battles throughout the border area.
Mexican authorities arrested him in September 2012 and he has been held at a maximum security prison there until Wednesday afternoon. As reported by Breitbart Texas, on Wednesday evening, Mexican and U.S. authorities announced the extradition of 13 of Mexico’s worst criminals including top capos, rapists and hitmen. Costilla was one of those who left Mexico City under heavy guard and arrived sometime before his court hearing in Brownsville.
Despite its many conflicts the Gulf Cartel continues to be one of the leading criminal organizations along the Texas border and is single handedly responsible for most of the drug trafficking, human smuggling, arms trafficking and money laundering in the Rio Grande Valley.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, last year the Gulf Cartel made $38 million over the summer by smuggling hundreds of thousands of Central Americans through the South Texas border. At the time of the human smuggling spike, federal authorities became overwhelmed with the number of detentions and rapidly ran out of room to house them creating a “humanitarian crisis”. It was during that crisis that Gulf Cartel members used human smuggling attempts not only as a way to make money but also as a way to tie down law enforcement so they could get their drugs across.