Thursday, September 27, 2012



Note: Audio of one of last night's shootouts across the river from
Eagle Pass, TX. Interesting that there was no full auto heard. Fire

Other details from Vanguardia, in Spanish (grenade on bridge was a dud)

More cartel snapshots emerge in capo's trial
September 26, 2012 11:04 PM
Mark Reagan
The Brownsville Herald

A witness testified Wednesday that Juan Roberto "Comandante" Rincón
Rincón would pick up drug proceeds, as well as deliver payment
intended for the witness from a now-detained Gulf Cartel boss.

Alejandro Jimenez Mendoza, 45, of Brownsville, testified that he
worked for his brother-in-law Fernando Sanchez, who was a cousin of
the recently arrested Jorge Eduardo "El Coss" Costilla Sanchez.
Rincón is on trial, charged with two counts of conspiracy to
transport cocaine and marijuana, according to court records.

The cartel sent Mendoza to pick up 28 vacuum-sealed packages full of
cash in Houston to bring back to Matamoros for drug payment. Mendoza
said after he successfully hid the money under the hood of a vehicle
in Brownsville and brought it into Mexico, Rincón arrived at
Sanchez's house two days later with a $5,000 payment from Costilla
for him.

Mendoza also testified that Rincón delivered his payment to Sanchez
in February of 2004. Mendoza told the court that he needed money and
talked to "Sergio," whose last name he couldn't remember, to ask
Costilla for the work.

Mendoza, who spent two stints in prison for smuggling marijuana,
testified Wednesday that he had already spent several years in prison
near San Antonio before first seeing Rincón in 2001 at a funeral of a
fallen comrade in Matamoros.

Mendoza testified about two separate loads of marijuana in November
and December 2003 that he said he and Sanchez paid Costilla for
permission to smuggle. Mendoza testified that on one occasion in
December, Sanchez gave a bag of money to Rincón, who arrived to pick
it up for Costilla.

On the occasion in November, Mendoza testified that he paid a $78,000
fee to Costilla, in person, so he could smuggle nearly 6,000 pounds
of marijuana. Mendoza testified that Costilla gave the bag to Rincón
and one other person — whom Mendoza could not remember — to count.

Mendoza is currently in custody on drug trafficking charges and
testified that he hopes for a reduced sentence because of his


During the trial, the prosecution has called several witnesses to the
stand who knew Rincón from the time they were children, including one
who testified Wednesday that in 2000, 2001 and 2002 Rincón worked for
the local police in Matamoros, but that he sold cocaine to drug
houses from his patrol car while he was in uniform.

Adalberto Nunez Venegas, 40, was called to the stand Wednesday
afternoon. He pleaded guilty in April to trying to bribe a public
official. Venegas and six other men offered $800,000 to a federal
undercover agent to ensure that Gulf Cartel operative Juan Carlos de
la Cruz Reyna be released to members of the cartel rather than
Mexican authorities upon the completion of his federal sentence,
federal authorities have said.

Venegas testified that he had known Rincón since they were children.

Venegas described a carwash in Matamoros that he frequented where
known members of the cartel, including Rincón, would congregate to
drink beer, cook and to conduct the monthly "poya."

According to testimony from Rafael "El Junior" Cárdenas Vela, poyas
are investment opportunities his uncle Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, the
now-imprisoned former head of the Gulf Cartel, extended to members,
letting them buy cocaine at the same price as the cartel and then
make extra money — beyond their salaries — by selling it.

Cárdenas Vela was arrested in Port Isabel in October and pleaded
guilty to drug trafficking charges. He testified that he hopes his
cooperation might sway a judge to give him a lenient sentence. He is
facing life in prison.

Venegas testified that Rincón would organize the poya by taking down
how much cocaine each person participating wanted, entering it into a
little black book and then returning when he had the cocaine. Venegas
testified that Rincón would walk out of those meetings with $500,000
to $700,000 in cash. He testified that he witnessed Rincón take money
and deliver drugs on several occasions in 2003, 2004 and in 2010.

He testified that cartel members paid Rincón in $100, $50 and $20
bills vacuum-sealed in bags with the amount written on it. When
Rincón came back with the cocaine, he would have about four suitcases
filled with 220 to 440 pounds of cocaine to distribute to cartel
members, Venegas testified.

The prosecution also called several Border Patrol agents who made
large marijuana seizures across from the Rio Bravo cartel plaza in
September and October of 2011. In all the incidents, agents testified
that they did not know whom the marijuana belonged to.

Prosecutors say Rincón was the plaza boss of Rio Bravo in September
2011 — a peak marijuana importation time.

Rincón was arrested with Jose Luis "El Wicho" Zúñiga Hernandez and
three other men in October after fleeing a gunbattle in Mexico
against rivals within the Gulf Cartel, federal agents say.

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