Gulf Cartel’s Top Boss Pleads Guilty in U.S. Court

Jorge Eduardo “El Coss” Costilla
Photo: Mexican Government

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — The man who once had full command of the Gulf Cartel during its heyday pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and charges of assaulting a federal officer.

Jorge “El Coss” Costilla Sanchez went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan and entered a guilty plea to one drug conspiracy charge and two separate counts of assault on a federal officer. 

From 2003 until his arrest in 2012, Costilla controlled the criminal organization known as the Gulf Cartel (CDG). According to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, since the 1990’s the Gulf Cartel has been Mexico’s leading drug trafficking and money laundering organization in the northern part of Tamaulipas. 

Costilla inherited the command of the Gulf Cartel from its previous leader, Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who is currently serving a 25-year sentence in a U.S. prison. Cardenas was arrested in 2003 and extradited to Texas in 2007. 

According to prosecutors, Costilla-Sanchez was responsible for making strategic decisions and trying to manage the various factions of the Gulf Cartel, including Los Zetas who eventually broke away. Beginning in 1998, Costilla helped the Gulf Cartel move tons of cocaine and marijuana into the country through the international bridges in Hidalgo and Cameron  County, as well as through the waters of the Rio Grande and through the Gulf of Mexico into the Texas coast.  

Once the drugs reached their destination throughout the U.S., the Gulf Cartel would use their network to move millions in profit back through Mexico in bulk cash as well as using various accounts and money laundering schemes to hide the criminal nature of the funds. 

As Breitbart Texas reported, the Gulf Cartel has been behind the bribery case of two former Tamaulipas state governors who are current fugitives of the U.S. Department of Justice. One of those governors, Eugenio Hernandez Flores continues to live in Mexico with complete impunity. 

According to prosecutors, in November 1999, Costilla along with his then boss Osiel Cardenas, spotted two federal agents in the border city of Matamoros. Gulf Cartel gunmen mobilized a team to intercept the agents. The agents were held at gunpoint until the standoff ended. 

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.

Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at


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