Pubdate: Tue, 13 Dec 2011
Source: Brownsville Herald, The (TX)
Copyright: 2011 The Brownsville Herald
Author: Madeline Buckley, The Brownsville Herald


Two associates of a Gulf Cartel "plaza boss" pleaded guilty to giving
false statements to federal agents, according to court documents.

Francisco Javier Escalante Jimenez and German Alejandro Huizar
Marroquin appeared in federal court Tuesday morning, and agreed to
cooperate with law enforcement in exchange for leniency in sentencing,
the plea agreement states.

Authorities arrested the men in Port Isabel this October with Rafael
Cardenas Vela, an alleged Gulf Cartel leader in Matamoros.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment in November that alleged
Jimenez and Marroquin lied to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
agents about the true identity of Cardenas Vela, who is accused of
managing drug distribution cells for the Gulf Cartel.

He is the nephew of Osiel Cardenas Guillen, former leader of the Gulf
Cartel, and the late Ezequiel "Tony Tormenta" Cardenas Guillen.

Cardenas Vela had a false Mexican passport and visa under the name
"Pedro Garcia Gonzalez." After the three men were arrested during a
traffic stop on Oct. 20, Jimenez and Marroquin told authorities they
did not know the man's real name, the plea agreement states.

The men said later that they knew Cardenas Vela was a leader in the
Gulf Cartel, according to the agreement.

The cartel plaza boss is charged with possession with intent to
deliver more than 11 pounds of cocaine and more than 2,204 pounds of
marijuana, as well as procuring a fraudulent Mexican passport and
United States visa in a four-count indictment handed down in November.

The indictment also alleges Cardenas Vela, along with co-conspirators,
collected millions of dollars in U.S. currency, proceeds of the
criminal organization's drug operation, and transported the money to

He also purchased weapons and bulletproof vests for cartel members to
use, the indictment states.

Cardenas Vela has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Edmund K. Cyganiewicz , attorney for Jimenez, said the plea was in the
best interest of his client, but declined to comment further because
his client is awaiting sentencing.

"The guidelines are not high in that type of offense," Cyganiewicz
said of his client's conviction for giving false information.

Court documents show Jimenez and Marroquin will be sentenced in

The maximum sentence for giving false statements to law enforcement is
five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

The plea agreement stipulates that prosecutors will recommend a
minimum sentence. 
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