Top Los Zetas Cartel Drug Supplier Convicted in U.S. Court

Cocaine 1
Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
San Antonio, TX

A top supplier for Mexico’s’ Los Zetas and their one-time ally, the Gulf Cartel, was convicted of multiple drug trafficking and laundering conspiracy charges in a U.S. federal court.

Court documents filed in the trial revealed that Reymundo (Mundo) Villarreal Arelis, along with his brothers, were the leaders of a family-run narcotics supply chain that controlled the flow of tons of cocaine that were moved from Guatemala, through Mexico, into the border city of McAllen and eventually to San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, New York , Chicago, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, and parts of North Carolina and Florida.

Jurors convicted Villarreal Arelis on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering after a week-long trial in San Antonio this week. 

Villarreal’s group, Los Piojos or “the Lice”, is tied to the smuggling of cocaine since 2000; initially with Mexico’s Gulf Cartel and eventually with Los Zetas, information released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed. The group was led by Villarreal Arelis and brothers Juan “Juando” Villarreal Arelis and Gilberto Villarreal Arelis, who remains a fugitive. In connection with the case, authorities convicted 14 individuals–including 12 relatives of the Villarreal Arelis family.

The millions in drug proceeds made by Villarreal and his family were laundered through various means, including the purchase of more than 50 quarter horses. The group used the racing horse industry to launder some of the proceeds from the trafficking of drugs.

Authorities seized more than 50 horses, various bank accounts, a shopping center in Mission, Texas, various homes, and other properties.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon.  You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.