Cartel Del Noreste Leader and Nephew of Los Zetas Leaders ‘Z-40 and Z-42’  Sentenced to Federal Prison

On Thursday in a Waco, Texas courtroom, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses sentenced Juan Francisco “Kiko” Trevino Chavez — the nephew of Los Zetas leaders Miguel Angel Trevino Morales (Z-40) and Oscar Omar Trevino Morales (Z-42) — to two consecutive life imprisonment sentences plus 20 years in federal prison. In addition to the prison terms, Judge Moses ordered that Trevino pay a fine of $2 Million plus another $2 Million for a money judgment against him.

On Tuesday, July 24, 2018, a jury found the defendant guilty on one count each of conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, conspiracy to import marijuana, unlawful distribution of controlled substances (extra-territorial), conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Testimony and evidence presented at the Chavez trial revealed that for 12-years, from 2004 until September 2016, the defendant was a member of the violent and extremely dangerous Los Zetas, a transnational drug trafficking organization operating primarily in the Mexican corridors of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Ciudad Acuna and Piedras Negras, Coahuila.  A number of members of Los Zetas are former military soldiers and ex-police officers.

Evidence presented to a jury revealed that the defendant worked with and conspired with the highest level operatives in the criminal organization, including his uncles, Z-40 and Z-42.

Evidence also revealed that Kiko Trevino organized the source and distribution of large quantities of narcotics, laundered drug proceeds, and controlled cells of traffickers and a group of armed sicarios (hit men or assassins) in the Nueva Laredo area.

The trial evidence showed the defendant participated in the trafficking of more than 250,000 kilos of cocaine, hundreds of thousands of kilos of marijuana, and hundreds of firearms. .

What the trial testimony revealed that was surprising to many was that after his uncles’ arrests, Los Zetas splintered into two groups and Kiko Trevino took over leadership of one of those two groups, the Cartel Del Noreste (CDN), and in this role, he controlled all of the drug and firearm trafficking, enforcement, and money laundering operations of CDN. Kiko Trevino continued in this leadership role until his arrest in 2016.

Mexico’s Los Zetas Drug Cartel Organization Matrix.

“Trevino-Chavez, also known as ‘Comandante Kiko,’ is a leader/organizer for a major Transnational Criminal Organization that is responsible for smuggling literally tons of drugs into South Texas.  Homeland Security Investigations specializes in complex cross-border conspiracy investigations targeting violent and dangerous individuals who threaten or violate the national security of the United States,” stated HSI Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden.

“As a result of the consistent and exceptional efforts of U.S. law enforcement working together with our international law enforcement partners, a very significant drug trafficker from Mexico has been brought to justice. The Kiko Trevino sentencing serves as an example that there are no borders when it comes to prosecuting international drug traffickers,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy.

“This investigation is a prime example of the fine work done when agencies come together to become a force multiplier,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski.

Kiko Trevino has remained in federal custody since his arrest in Baytown, TX, on September 28, 2016.


NACOP Chiefs of Police - James Kouri

Jim Kouri is a member of the Board of Advisors and a former vice president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc. a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in Florida in May 1967. The Association was organized for educational and charitable activities for law enforcement officers in command ranks and supervisory agents of state & federal law enforcement agencies as well as leaders in the private security sector. NACOP also provides funding to small departments, officers and the families of those officers paralyzed and disabled in the line of duty.

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