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March 31, 2009


(HOUSTON) – Juan Carlos De La Cruz Reyna, 36, of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, has pleaded guilty to two counts of threatening to assault and murder federal agents, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. 

The guilty plea was entered today at a hearing before United States District Judge Jilda G. Tagle in Houston. The charges against De La Cruz Reyna arose out of an alleged encounter in November 1999 between members of the Gulf Cartel, including Oziel Cardenas-Guillen, the then head of the Gulf Cartel, and a DEA agent and an FBI agent. At today’s hearing, De La Cruz Reyna admitted he and others stopped the agents as they drove through Matamoros on official business. While stopped, the agents were threatened at gunpoint by De La Cruz Reyna, who was armed with an assault rifle, and others. Cardenas-Guillen, who was allegedly present at the scene, allegedly threatened the agents even after one of the agents identified himself as a United States law enforcement agent. Eventually, the agents were allowed to leave but warned never to return to Matamoros. De La Cruz Reyna is scheduled for sentencing on July 3, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. He faces a maximum of five years  imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and a three-year-term of supervised release on each count. 

A co-defendant, Ruben Sauceda-Rivera, 42, of Matamoros, pleaded guilty to engaging in a conspiracy to launder monetary instruments before Judge Tagle today. During the course of Sauceda-Rivera’s involvement in the money laundering conspiracy between November 1998 until April 2002, he became the assistant to “Noventa,” the bookkeeper for the cartel. As his assistant, Sauceda-Rivera assisted Noventa in collecting and accounting for millions of dollars in drug proceeds collected in places such as Houston and Atlanta, which were then transported to the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, and from there into Mexico. Drug ledgers seized in Atlanta in June 2001 show that in an approximate three-month period, the Gulf Cartel distributed a minimum of 2,927 kilograms of cocaine generating $41,059,000.

Sauceda-Rivera, who is also scheduled for sentencing on July 3, faces up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of $500,000 or not more than twice the value of the funds laundered, whichever is greater, and a three-year-term of supervised release.

De La Cruz Reyna and Sauceda-Rivera have been in federal custody since their arrest and will remain in federal custody pending sentencing.

In addition to these two defendants, eight others are charged in various counts of the superseding indictment: Oziel Cardenas-Guillen, 41, of Mexico; Adan Medrano, 39, of Mexico; Victor Manuel Vasquez-Mireles, 41, of Mexico; Jorge Costilla-Sanchez, 37, of Mexico; Juan Gilberto Reyes, of Mexico; Rafael Betancourt-Velez, 38, of Mexico; Rogelio Pizana Gonzalez, 35, of Mexico; and Baldomero Gonzalez Ruiz, 50, of Mexico. Cardenas-Guillen is currently in custody in the United States without bond and is set for final pretrial and jury selection on Aug. 31, 2009, and Sept. 8, 2009, respectively. The other named individuals are currently fugitives. These defendants are presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law. Anyone having information regarding the whereabouts of the fugitives are asked to contact their local office of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted special agents of the FBI, DEA and ICE. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jody Young and Toni Trevino are prosecuting the case.

An indictment or superseding indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.



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