After pleading guilty in a U.S. court to a drug smuggling conspiracy, a Mexican national who led the Gulf Cartel from 2003 to 2012 was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison and compelled to pay a $5 million forfeiture.
A federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, sentenced Jorge “El Cos” Costilla-Sanchez, 51, for conspiring to ship cocaine and marijuana from Mexico into the United States. Costilla-Sanchez was arrested in 2012 in Mexico and extradited to the U.S. in 2015. He entered his plea in September 2017.
U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez Jr. noted that Costilla-Sanchez led an organization that used guns and intimidation to maintain control, resorting to violence and killing to keep power.
“This was a long but very important case to the district and especially our partners in Brownsville,” said U.S. Attorney Jennifer Lowery in a statement. “The life sentence speaks for itself. Justice has now been served.”
Costilla-Sanchez, who was also known as “Doble X” and “Dos Equis,” became head of the cartel after the arrest of former leader Osiel Cardenas in 2003, authorities say. Prior to joining the cartel, Costilla-Sanchez was a police officer in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Costilla-Sanchez also previously pleaded guilty to threatening two federal agents from the FBI and while he was being investigated for drug trafficking in 1999, authorities say.
The Cartel del Golfo (CDG) is based in Tamaulipas, Mexico. During the time Costilla-Sanchez was the leader, he was responsible for importing over 10,000 kilograms of cocaine and 140,000 kilograms of marijuana to the United States, authorities say.
Costilla-Sanchez will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility that will be determined in the near future.
“Costilla-Sanchez brought poison to our communities, and our collaborative efforts with our local and federal partners brought him to prison,” said Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux of the DEA – Houston Division. “We will continue to aggressively go after any drug trafficking organization wanting to profit from our communities.”