Sinaloa Cartel Operative Busted with 500 Kilos of Coke in Northern Mexico

Cocaine in South Texas
FILE Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

At a press conference held on Friday, Pedro Guevara Pérez of the Federal Prosecutors Office (Procurador General de la República or PGR) announced the arrest and detainment of a suspect identified as José Antonio “N,” a member of the Sinaloa Cartel, after allegedly found in possession of 505 kilograms of cocaine and nearly a kilo of methamphetamine in Sinaloa.

Pedro Guevara Pérez reported that José Antonio “N” was arrested after he was initially found in possession of two kilograms of cocaine in a parking lot in downtown Culiacán, Sinaloa, by elements of the Mexican Army (SEDENA) conducting patrol activities. Federal investigators then assisted with the probe and obtained an order from a judge to take custody of two vehicles linked José Antonio “N” in the same parking lot where he was arrested. A search of one of the vehicles turned up 498 brick-shaped, wrapped packages in a hidden compartment containing cocaine with a total weight of 505 kilograms. Another package also contained methamphetamine weighing short of a kilogram (985 grams).

The same judge who authorized the search of the two vehicles later ordered José Antonio “N” to be held and his property seized. He is currently awaiting further court proceeding pertaining to his arrest.

The state of Sinaloa has traditionally experienced elevated levels of cartel-related violence and in 2017, recorded 1,561 homicides for the year. The numbers are down from 2011 when 1,906 were registered. During the just-concluded month of May, authorities recorded 94 homicides and the total for the year stands at 472 as of May 31, per local media. Among the 94 killed in May is a transit police officer, a Navy diver who was killed in his hotel in Mazatlán, and an investigator from the state attorney general’s office.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at