SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Angel Dominguez Jr., grew up in the border town of Roma, Texas after his family migrated from Jalisco, Mexico when he was 8 years old.
Along the way, he got dual citizenship and joined the Marine Corps after high school.
While stationed in North Carolina in November 1994, he flipped his car and rolled off a bridge into a creek as he tried to avoid a deer on the road.
Dominguez was badly injured, but his two daughters, ages 3 and 4, died in the crash
His injuries were so severe that the Marines gave Dominguez a medical discharge, ending his military career and dream of becoming a member of an elite special forces unit.
After leaving the military, Dominguez struggled to find steady work.
Years later, he was arrested in Texas while trying to cross the border with a load of marijuana. He pleaded guilty and spent 13 months in federal prison.
Upon his release, he went to work for his brother-in-law in the construction industry, but the work dried up as the housing market plummeted.
In 2007, according to his attorney, Dominguez moved to Mexico where he met people who smuggled marijuana and cocaine into the U.S.
Dominguez developed relationships with cartels throughout Mexico and Latin America, had he reportedly used his smarts and large bribes to work with Mexican lawmakers and those in law enforcement.
“He has never made an excuse for the direction he took, only to say that after the accident, he stopped caring. He was numb,” according to defense attorney Nancee Schwartz, who made these comments in a written sentencing document. “He didn’t think or care about consequences because he had experienced the worst.”
Earlier this week, 28 years after the crash, Dominguez now 50, was sentenced to 195 months in prison, according to a news release issued by the Department of Justice.
Prosecutors described him as the “unquestioned leader” of an underworld group called “El Seguimiento 39” also known as “The Company” or “El Seg 39.”
Prosecutors say Dominguez ran a network that transported drugs into the United States and laundered money for several rival drug cartels in Mexico including the Sinaloa Cartel, Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, Los Zetas and others.
“Wiretap evidence demonstrates that he controlled every aspect of his organization,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Martin wrote in a sentencing memorandum, according to a story published in the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Dominguez did rely on co-conspirators to negotiate and control drug routes, find sources of supply, and prevent law enforcement from thwarting his trafficking, but ultimately he gave the orders to each of these co-conspirators.”
U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes noted the “staggering” amount of cocaine that Dominguez smuggled.
Dominguez and his group reportedly smuggled, on average, 10 tons of cocaine into the United States per month while laundering at least $10 million of drug proceeds back into Mexico on a monthly basis.
“Today’s sentence sends a message that the leaders of even the most powerful criminal organizations will be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman.
But Dominguez’s attorney wrote the claims against his client were never supported by any evidence offered by prosecutors.
Dominguez was arrested in Mexico back in 2016 and extradited to San Diego.
He agreed to a plea deal seven months ago, admitting his involvement in an international drug-distribution ring and a money-laundering scheme.
According to his sentencing records, Dominguez will get credit for six years already served in custody.