McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A former fugitive and longtime leader of a notorious Mexican drug cartel has been deported from South Texas back to Mexico where he faces criminal charges, Department of Homeland Security officials announced this week.
Oscar Arturo Arriola Marquez, 54, was leader of the Arriola Marquez cartel, and was once one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials said.
Officers with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations on Nov. 1 sent Arriola back to Mexico, they said. This came after he served several years jail time in the United States, and was after he had been on the lam and hunted by authorities in multiple countries for several years.
In 2003, a federal indictment and arrest warrant were issued against Arriola in Colorado charging him with conspiracy to distribute and import and export of controlled substances, as well as money laundering, according to ICE.
He was arrested on Feb. 2, 2006 in Mexico, and was paroled into the United States on March 1, 2010, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials through El Paso for criminal proceedings where he was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals.
On April 13, 2012, he was convicted in federal court in Colorado and sentenced to 22 years in prison on conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 11 pounds or more of cocaine into the United States and on money laundering conspiracy charges.
But just three years into his sentence, ICE ERO officials in Phoenix in July 2015 pegged him for removal from the United States via an immigration detainer.
This past summer, on Aug. 15, ERO officers in San Antonio took custody of Arriola. The next day, officials learned “from a foreign service national investigator that Arriola was the subject of an active foreign arrest warrant in Mexico,” ERO said.
Last month an immigration judge ordered him removed from the United States back to Mexico.
He was taken to the border town of Laredo, Texas, and turned over to Mexican authorities in Nuevo Laredo, according to ICE.
“Individuals who commit crimes of this magnitude in their home countries will find no refuge in the United States,” ERO San Antonio Interim Field Office Director Garrett Ripa said. “We will not sit idly by and allow our communities to be overrun with criminals.”
On June 1, 2005, President George W. Bush identified Arriola as a drug kingpin under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, also known as the Kingpin Act.
Once named under the Kingpin Act, U.S. residents are prohibited from engaging in financial and commercial transactions with designees. It also freezes any assets the designee may have in the United States.
The Arriola Marquez Organization was based in the tiny town of Saucillo, Mexico, about 50 miles southwest of Chihuahua City, and was linked to Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman Loera (Chapo Guzman) and the Carrillo Fuentes Organization, which also were named drug kingpins by then-President Bush.
In August 2005, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control named eight individuals and three companies associated with Arriola’s organization that were also listed under the Kingpin Act.
The Treasury Department said the Arriola Marquez Organization was affiliated with several “front companies” in Mexico that included large cattle businesses, real estate firms, car businesses, a gasoline distributor, and a food processing conglomerate.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.