Drug cartel player extradited to US from Mexico

AP News

5/23/2012 9:48:49 PM - AP News

Federal officials say a U.S.-born drug cartel lieutenant who was arrested in Mexico has been successfully extradited to the United States to face federal racketeering and drug charges.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said Wednesday that Armando Villareal Heredia is the lead defendant in a 43-defendant prosecution against the Fernando Sanchez-Arellano Organization, a drug cartel.

Also known as Gordo Villareal, he was arrested by Mexican law enforcement July 9, 2011, at the request of U.S. officials.

Duffy says Villareal was a top lieutenant for the drug cartel.

To date, 38 defendants have pleaded guilty in the case, admitting to murders, kidnappings, robberies, assaults, money launder and drug trafficking.

Four defendants are fugitives and another is due for trial June 5.

Heredia is expected in federal court on Thursday.