Two drug traffickers from Michoacán, Mexico were sentenced to a combined 37 years in federal prison today after prosecutors admitted into evidence a song glorifying their criminal lifestyle, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Felix Giovanni Ruiz Mendoza, 27, pleaded guilty in November 2018 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay to 18 years imprisonment. His younger brother, coconspirator Gustavo Ruiz Mendoza, 24, pleaded guilty in January 2019 to the same charge and was sentenced today to 19 years imprisonment.
The brothers, who were in the United States illegally at the time of their arrests, were found in control of more than 90 kilograms of meth with a wholesale value of approximately $500,000 in June 2018.
In plea papers, the Ruiz Mendozas admitted they conspired to prepare and deal drugs out of two residences in Balch Springs, Texas. The elder brother admits that he used one property as a “methamphetamine conversion lab” and the other as a meth distribution house, and that some of the money he made from dealing was sent to Mexico to cover importation fees.
At the sentencing hearing today, prosecutors played a narco corrido, a narrative ballad used by the cartels to glorify their violent criminal lifestyle. The song, Guiovani Ruiz (listen here), is written from the perspective of the elder Mr. Ruiz Menodza, and details the law enforcement raid of his meth house and ensuing imprisonment:
Experts at the sentencing testified that the band – which is not accused of criminal activity – likely had to get permission from the at least one of the cartels in control of the area around Michoacán in order to write and perform the piece, which the drug traffickers used as propaganda glamorizing their way of life. (Cartel control of Michoacán has shifted back and forth over the years between La Familia Michoacán, Los Caballeros Templarios, Los Viagras, and Cartel Nueva Generación de Jalisco, or CJNG.)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office, the Dallas Police Department, Balch Springs Police Department, and IRS - Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney George Leal prosecuted both cases.
The cases are part of an Organized Crime Drug Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to attack and reduce the supply of illegal drugs entering the United States and to diminish violence and other criminal activity associated with the drug trade. The OCDETF program works with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to identify, disrupt, and dismantle, drug traffickers and drug trafficking networks.