McALLEN, Texas — A top Mexican drug smuggler believed to be the leader of a large ring operating in South Texas has died in an apparent suicide while in federal custody.
Mexican Consular officials confirmed the Friday afternoon death of 53-year-old Ramon Valencia Morfín in an effort to reach his relatives in the Mexican State of Michoacán. Court records point to the late Valencia Morfín being in the country legally.
“We know he died at 14:30, that is the information we have been able to get at the moment,” said Vanessa Yocelin Ortega De La Parra, the Mexican Consul tasked with providing consular protection services in Texas. “We are awaiting for authorities to notify us the official cause of death.”
Court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed that Valencia Morfín was arrested on June 22 as part of a 12-count drug trafficking indictment. Authorities have managed to arrest five of the defendants in the group. Court documents revealed that there are various other defendants that have not yet been arrested — that information remains sealed.
The charges filed against Valencia Morfín include one count of drug trafficking and one count of money laundering conspiracy. Federal prosecutors had been trying to seize $1.5 million in cash that Morfín had, as well as various properties in the tony Sharyland area in the Texas border city of Mission and one property in the border city of Pharr.
The criminal indictment does not list which drug cartel or drug cartel faction the Valencia Morfin’s group had been working for. The man is originally from the Mexican state of Michoacán and his court records point to his group having been active since 2009.
Valencia Morfín had last been in court last week to be formally notified of a new superseding indictment filed in the case. The man as due back in court on Monday for a detention hearing with a U.S. magistrate judge.
Valencia Morfin’s body was found inside of a cell in the Willacy County Detention Center with what appear to be self-inflicted wounds, sources with direct knowledge of the case confirmed to Breitbart Texas. The jail in Willacy County is one of the facilities used by federal authorities to house federal prisoners facing trial in South Texas.
Cases of drug lords trying to kill themselves from self-inflicted wounds in jail facilities while not common, have happened in the past. In August 2010 Jose Ezequiel Galicia Gonzalez, a member of the Los Zetas cartel, tried to slash his own throat with a plastic spoon soon after being arrested on illegal re-entry charges — this writer reported for the Brownsville Herald at the time.
Galicia Gonzalez has been part of a group of cartel members who had fled to Texas to avoid a sure death at the hands of their rivals. That cartel conflict resulted in various homicides and high profile violent cases in the border city of Brownsville.