Department of Justice Press Release

For Immediate Release
July 23, 2010 United States Attorney's Office
Southern District of California
Contact: (619) 557-5610

Forty-Three Defendants with Ties to a Drug Cartel in Mexico Charged with Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Conspiracy

Individuals Allegedly Responsible for State and Federal Crimes, Including Murder, Kidnapping, Firearms, and Drug Trafficking Violations

SAN DIEGO, CA—A criminal complaint was unsealed today charging 43 defendants with participating in a federal racketeering (RICO) conspiracy. The RICO conspiracy alleged in the complaint involves the commission of both state and federal crimes, including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, drug trafficking and money laundering offenses. As set forth in the complaint, the defendants are members and associates of the Fernando Sanchez Organization (FSO), an offshoot of the Arellano-Felix drug-trafficking cartel.

The complaint also alleges that Jesus Quiñones Marques, the Director of International Liaison for the Baja California Attorney General’s Office, was aware of the FSO’s illegal activities and used his position to obtain confidential law enforcement information for the use of the FSO. According to the complaint, he was involved in making arrangements to have various rivals of the FSO arrested and detained by Mexican law enforcement officials.

The charges stem from a long-term investigation, entitled “Operation Luz Verde