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Zeta Leader "Talivan" Pleads Guilty

APR 07 (McALLEN, Texas) –Ivan Velasquez-Caballero, aka "Talivan" or "50," has entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, announced Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven S. Whipple and United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Velasquez-Caballero, 44, of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, has been in custody in the United States since he was extradited to Laredo on Nov. 21, 2013.

The charges stem from a Feb. 17, 2010, indictment charging Velasquez-Caballero and 33 others with 47 counts alleging drug conspiracy, kidnapping conspiracy, firearms conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to kidnap and murder U. S. citizens in a foreign country, use of juveniles to commit a violent crime, accessory after the fact, solicitation, as well as substantive money laundering, drug trafficking and interstate travel in aid of racketeering charges. To date, 15 others have been convicted by plea or trial.

Velasquez-Caballero was a plaza boss for Nuevo Laredo in 2004 under the Gulf Cartel and one of the leaders of the Zetas drug cartel from 2005 until his arrest by Mexican authorities in August 2012. The drug conspiracy involved the importation and distribution of 150 kilograms or more of cocaine and 1000 kilograms or more of marijuana from Mexico into the United States.  Millions of dollars in drug proceeds were also exported from the United States to Velasquez-Caballero and others in Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, accepted the pleas today and set sentencing for July 18, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. At that time, he faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life as well as a $4 million fine for the drug conspiracy charge plus a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $500,000 fine for the money laundering conspiracy.

The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Laredo Police Department with the assistance of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's BEST task force, FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Texas Department of Public Safety, U.S. Marshals Service and the Webb County Sheriff's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno is prosecuting.

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