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Press Release

Extradited Mexican With Ties To Zetas Sentenced In Large-Scale Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy

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

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Benito Aguilar-Ozuna, aka “Pichollo,” a Mexican citizen who was extradited to the U.S. late last year, has been sentenced to prison for nearly 20 years for conspiracy to traffic cocaine, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Aguilar-Ozuna pleaded guilty Jan. 25, 2013.

Just moments ago, Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack handed Aguilar-Ozuna a sentence of 235 months. As a Mexican citizen, he is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison. 

Benito Aguilar-Ozuna was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in an indictment returned Nov. 25, 2008, which was superseded in April 2009 and again in January 2010. Aguilar-Ozuna was charged along with three others, including Carlos Alberto Oliva-Castillo aka “La Rana,” a Mexican citizen arrested in October 2011 in Mexico. According to records, Oliva-Castillo was known as the number three figure in the Zetas drug cartel at the time of his arrest and allegedly controlled Zeta operations in the key northern states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.

The investigation in this case began in 2006 when law enforcement authorities discovered a narcotics importer/distributor based in Robstown for whom Oliva-Castillo was the source of supply. Aguilar-Ozuna was Oliva-Castillo’s most trusted associate in this large-scale cocaine trafficking organization based out of Diaz Ordaz, Mexico. The organization was responsible for the importation of cocaine from Mexico and the distribution of cocaine to the organization’s cells located in Texas, Florida, California, Oregon, Georgia and Illinois. Agents also discovered that Oliva-Castillo and Aguilar-Ozuna oversaw the transportation of narcotics proceeds in the hundreds of millions from the United States to Mexico. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized approximately 174 kilograms of cocaine from members of this organization. The case against Oliva-Castillo remains pending. He is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

The investigation leading to the criminal charges was conducted through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in Corpus Christi lead by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Corpus Christi Police Department, United States Border Patrol and the United States Marshals Service. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in Aguilar-Ozuna’s extradition.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julie K. Hampton.

Updated April 30, 2015