Agents arrest man who claims ties to Gulf Cartel, La Familia since he was 15

June 13, 2011 4:24 PM
Jared Taylor
The Monitor

NEAR FALFURRIAS — U.S. Border Patrol agents last week arrested a man who claims ties to the Gulf Cartel and La Familia Michoacana since he was a teenager.

Agents encountered Jose Arturo Cervantes Jr., 24, at the Border Patrol checkpoint south of Falfurrias at 4:53 p.m. Thursday, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

A drug canine alerted to the truck and trailer Cervantes was driving. He told agents he was driving to Houston after visiting his grandmother in Monterrey, N.L. The truck’s passenger, Baldomero Betancourt Jr., told the agent he went along on vacation.

Agents searched the trailer, noting the floor boards appeared to be dirty and used, but the screws fastening them were new. Agents found bundles of marijuana hidden beneath the boards and arrested the two men.

Cervantes told agents he has been associated with the Gulf Cartel and La Familia Michoacana, two allied drug trafficking organizations that control much of Mexico, since he was 15 years old.

Cervantes said a contact in Michoacán offered to pay him $1,000 to travel there and talk about business, the complaint states. He said Betancourt bought the truck and trailer and they traveled to Michoacán together. Betancourt’s wife accompanied them for the trip, as well.

Betancourt and his wife split from Cervantes while visiting Huetamo, Mch., where the trailer was modified and stuffed with pot bundles, the complaint states.

The men and Betancourt’s wife returned to the U.S.-Mexico border, but left her in Reynosa because she has no immigration papers, the complaint states. Betancourt and Cervantes crossed the marijuana through the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge without incident on Thursday and continued north.

Cervantes told agents he expected to earn $4,000, 10 pounds of marijuana and the truck for crossing the marijuana to Houston. From there, he told agents it was destined for Arkansas.

Betancourt told agents that Cervantes asked him to go to Monterrey. He told agents they stayed there for a week, but made no mention of his wife, except that she was an illegal immigrant living in Houston.

Agents seized 135 bundles of marijuana that weighed more than 227 pounds from the trailer. Cervantes and Betancourt remain in federal custody.

Jared Taylor covers courts and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4439. ... gents.html