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Narcotics Rewards Program: Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas-Guillen


Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
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DECEASED

Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas-Guillen

ALIASES: "Ezequiel Cardenas-Guillen," "Marcos Ledezma," "Tony Tormenta," "Licenciado"
DOB: March 5, 1962
Alt. DOB: May 5, 1962
POB: Tamaulipas, Mexico
NATIONALITY: Mexican
CITIZENSHIP: Mexico
HEIGHT: 6 feet
WEIGHT: 215 pounds
HAIR COLOR: Black
EYE COLOR: Brown
CPOT SINCE: October 2007

The Gulf Cartel, originally founded in Mexico the 1930s to smuggle whiskey and other illicit commodities into the United States, expanded significantly by the 1970s under Juan Garcia-Abrego, who became the first drug trafficker to be placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Following his 1996 arrest by Mexican authorities and subsequent deportation to the United States, Oscar Malherbe-De Leon took control of the cartel until his arrest a short time later. He was replaced by Osiel Cardenas-Guillen, who was arrested in 2003, and extradited to the United States in 2007. The Department of State Narcotics Rewards Program played a significant role in the capture of all three of these Gulf Cartel leaders, with reward offers and subsequent reward payments. The Gulf Cartel controls most of the cocaine and marijuana trafficking through the Matamoros, Mexico corridor to the United States.

Los Zetas evolved from a small group of deserters from the Mexican Special Forces, hired by Osiel Cardenas-Guillen for his personal security, into a ruthless security force for the entire Gulf Cartel. Los Zetas also took responsibility for the safe passage of the Gulf Cartel’s cocaine and other drugs from Mexico to the United States and have become a significant drug trafficking organization in their own right. Los Zetas are credited with rising rates of violence within Mexico, largely attributed to turf battles with other drug cartels.

Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas-Guillen, is the brother of Osiel Cardenas-Guillen and close associate of Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez. Cardenas-Guillen was believed to facilitate the planning, overseeing and directing of the drug trafficking and money collection activities in Matamoros, Mexico and control the Matamoros-Brownsville corridor on behalf of the Gulf Cartel. Cardenas-Guillen began his drug trafficking career during the late 1980s. Cardenas-Guillen rose through the ranks of the Gulf Cartel and was eventually given command over the Matamoros Plaza. He, along with other Gulf Cartel associates, was responsible for multi-ton shipments of marijuana and cocaine from Mexico to the United States. He was charged in a 2008 Federal indictment in the District of Columbia with violations of Title 21 USC Sections 959, 960, 963, and Title 18 USC Section 2.

Cardenas-Guillen was killed during a firefight with the Mexican authorities in November 2010.



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