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Press Release

Former High-Ranking Member of Sinaloa Drug Cartel Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A former high-ranking member of the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico was sentenced today to 28 years in federal prison for his role in transporting large amounts of illegal drugs to the Chicago area and throughout the United States.

From at least 2009 until his arrest in November 2014, JESUS RAUL BELTRAN LEON conspired with other Sinaloa Cartel members to transport multi-ton quantities of illegal drugs into the United States.  Beltran Leon invested in shipments comprising hundreds of kilograms of drugs that were purchased in Central and South America, imported into Mexico, and eventually smuggled into the U.S. for distribution in Chicago and throughout the country.  Beltran Leon also sought to acquire from other cartel members numerous kilograms of drugs that already had been imported into the U.S. so that he could further distribute those narcotics to his own wholesale drug customers in Chicago and throughout the country.

Beltran Leon, 35, of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a drug conspiracy charge.  U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo imposed the sentence in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Brian McKnight, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew C. Erskine and Erika L. Csicsila.

Beltran Leon is one of more than 20 members of the Sinaloa or Beltran-Leyva drug cartels to be charged in federal court in Chicago.  The investigation has resulted in seizures of approximately $30.8 million, approximately eleven tons of cocaine, 265 kilograms of methamphetamines, and 78 kilograms of heroin.

Updated August 6, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime