High-Ranking Gulf Cartel Member Extradited to US

By Danny Fenster

Those keeping score can add yet another extradition from Mexico in the fight against the violent drug trade.

This time it’s Aurelio “Yayo” Cano-Flores, of the Mexican Gulf Cartel, also know as “Yankee.” Cano-Flores has been in the custody of Mexican authorities since a June 10, 2009 arrest, and was extradited August 19, authorities said. He remains in federal custody pending trial.

The 39-year-old drug trafficker appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola in D.C. on Monday.

He is charged with “conspiracy to manufacture and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana for importation into the United States,” according to a Justice Department press release.

“Cano-Flores was allegedly responsible for ensuring that multi-ton quantities of cocaine, heroin and marijuana were shipped into the United States, and that the illegal drug proceeds were subsequently funneled back into Mexico,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer in a statement.

Breuer said Cano-Flores was responsible for the Gulf Cartel’s operations in Camargo, Mexico, a colonial town in the east of the state of Chihuahua, and other proximate stretches of the US-Mexico border.

The indictment alleges that Cano-Flores and other defendants used radio communications and Nextel “push-to-talk” phones to evade law enforcement and kept detailed records of shipments, payrolls to traffickers and law enforcement, drug boss identities, and more on laptops and flash drives.

The Justice Department said Cano-Flores worked with partner cartel “Los Zetas” to oversee motor vehicle shipments of marijuana and cocaine into Texas, and from there across the United States, and carried out violent acts against law enforcement and competing traffickers.

The investigation was led by the DEA’s Houston Field Division and the DEA Bilateral Investigation Unit.

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