Aurelio Cano-Flores (Captured)

ALIASES: “Yankee,” “Yiyo”
DOB: May 03, 1972
POB: Tamaulipas, Mexico

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.

Aurelio Cano-Flores was arrested on June 10, 2009 by Mexican authorities and taken into custody without incident. Cano-Flores was a high-ranking member of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas and believed to have overseen the Gulf Cartel drug trafficking activities in the City of Camargo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, including major bulk marijuana procurements. Reportedly, Cano-Flores also coordinated the movement of illegal narcotics from Mexico into the United States as well as oversees the repatriation of narcotic related proceeds. He is 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.

U.S. Department of State

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