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Press Release

La Familia Michoacán Drug Cartel Leader Pleads Guilty to Drug Distribution and Money Laundering Charges

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

DALLAS — Arnoldo Rueda-Medina, aka “La Minsa,” 47, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma C. Ramirez today and pleaded guilty to federal offenses in connection with his leadership roles in the “La Familia Michoacán” Mexican drug cartel, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

Specifically, Rueda-Medina pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. He faces a statutory sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in federal prison and up to a $4 million fine on the drug conspiracy count. The money laundering conspiracy count has a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater. Rueda-Medina will remain in custody pending sentencing.

“The cartel leadership in Mexico is not immune from our reach,” said U.S. Attorney Parker. “It may take time, but we’ll take whatever time is necessary to bring justice to those who export their drug-related misery and death to our north Texas communities.”


“High ranking Cartel figures operating in the North Texas area will not be tolerated,” said the DEA Dallas Field Division’s Special Agent in Charge Clyde E. Shelley, Jr. “The DEA and The US Attorney’s Office are working around the clock to combat the loss of life due to Medina and the continuing threat posed to our communities by the remnants of the La Familia Michoacán.”

On February 25, 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned Rueda-Medina under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for his involvement in drug trafficking. The Kingpin Act blocks all property and interests in property, subject to U.S. jurisdiction, owned or controlled by significant foreign narcotics traffickers, as identified by the President. The act also prohibits U.S. citizens and companies from doing any kind of business activity with Rueda-Medina, and it virtually froze all of his assets in the United States. Rueda-Medina was arrested in Michoacán, Mexico on July 11, 2009, and was extradited to the United States on January 27, 2017.

According to plea documents, from September 2007 through October 21, 2009, Rueda-Medina held a leadership position within the La Familia Michoacán (LFM), a Mexican drug cartel and organized crime syndicate based in the Mexican state of Michoacán. LFM was responsible for trafficking thousands of kilograms of methamphetamine into the United States through border checkpoints near Laredo, Texas and Tijuana, Mexico and delivered to stash locations in the Northern District of Texas and elsewhere.


LFM used a sophisticated network of individuals in Mexico and the United States, according to plea documents, to distribute the methamphetamine in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and to collect proceeds from the methamphetamine sales. The drug proceeds that were collected were delivered to cartel members or associates in Mexico either by way of bulk cash smuggling in vehicles utilized by LFM couriers or through money remitters such as Western Union.


The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Dallas Police Department and the Garland Police Department; the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) provided special assistance. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance in bringing the defendant to the United States to face charges. The Government of Mexico also provided assistance in the investigation and in securing the extradition of Rueda-Medina to the United States.

This case is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.

Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Calvert and Assistant U.S. Attorney George Leal are in charge of the prosecution.

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Lisa Slimak

Updated September 15, 2017

Drug Trafficking