Imprisoned Sinaloa cartel traffickers, hitmen end testimonies against former colleagues

Border Crime

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Sinaloa cartel members Arturo Shows Urquidi and Mario Alberto Iglesias Villegas have mainly sat quietly wearing suits as they hear their former colleagues testify against them in federal court.

Numerous testimonies have been delivered against the two, mostly from people they worked alongside loading and offloading drugs and individuals who have also participated in numerous murders and kidnappings on behalf of the cartel. Some are awaiting sentences in their trials.

The time period of the testimonies has been between the late 1990s to the late 2000s when the Sinaloa cartel began operating in Juárez to the time they hit the peak of their war with the Juárez cartel or La Linea.

Federal agents have also testified to the magnitude of drug trafficking through the border during the trial. Their testimonies have also served as an account of the activity the Sinaloa drug cartel had on the area.

The testimony was part of the ongoing trial of reputed cartel members Arturo Shows Urquidi and Mario Alberto Iglesias Villegas in U.S. federal court in El Paso. The two are accused of being involved in the Sinaloa cartels operations in Juárez in connection to murders, kidnappings, and drug trafficking.

The trials are part of a large indictment by a federal grand jury that included Sinaloa cartel leaders Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and Ismael “Mayo” Zambada Garcia. On April 24, 2012, the leaders and 22 other members of the cartel were charged with criminal activities ranging from trafficking drugs to conspiracy to kill in a foreign country.

Iglesias faces charges of conspiracy to kill in a foreign government and kidnapping as well as charges of continuing a criminal enterprise and laundering money.

He is accused of assisting and co-conspiring with others to abduct three individuals, including a U.S. citizen. The victims were later found murdered on May 10, 2010, in Ciudad Juarez.

Urquidi faces charges of conspiracy to possess narcotics, laundering money, conspiracy to possess and traffic firearms and drugs and racketeering.

He is accused of participating in unloading and loading cocaine, including drug proceeds and firearms into a warehouse in Juarez. Urquidi was a former state policeman with the state of Chihuahua. And, he’d help the cartel in its drug trafficking operations while he was still with the force, according to testimonies.

Many of the testimonies against Urquidi and Iglesias have been from men who were once employed by a police agency and who later began working in cartel-related activities. Using their training, the cartel members would communicate on radio, using coded language to conduct kidnappings and murders of rival gangs and others.

Their stories have gravitated around the larger backdrop of narcotics trafficking through Mexico into the United States. Each testimony offers insight into the day-to-day operations between cartel members flying cocaine into Juárez from Central Mexico.

And, when the Mexican army destroyed makeshift airstrips, the cartels began using tankers to sneak cocaine into their warehouses throughout the city. The bags would be imprinted with car logos or cartoons indicating they’d been tested.

The drugs would then be taken to stash houses throughout Juárez where weapons would also be stored.

Each testimony appeared to tie Shows and Iglesias to the organization in their various roles. Each individual who spoke would talk about their role and what they did while also disclosing what Shows and Iglesias may be doing in each scenario.

At times, defense attorneys would challenge their testimonies. They’d be asked repeatedly about their accounts and sometimes they’d interject, saying prosecutors were leading their answers.

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The mission of is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.