A reputed leader of a notoriously violent Mexican cartel has been extradited to Chicago and arraigned on charges that he trafficked heroin in the Chicago area and sent hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds to Mexico.
Adan Casarrubias Salgado — also known by nicknames including “El Tomate” — was extradited to the U.S. on Thursday. He pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, money laundering and drug trafficking Friday and he remains in federal custody, authorities said.
If convicted, he faces a sentence of 10 years to life, according to a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.
Casarrubias Salgado is an alleged leader of the Guerreros Unidos criminal syndicate. According to a newly unsealed federal indictment, he distributed heroin around the Chicago area, including suburban Batavia and Aurora, in spring 2014. In June of that year, he sent $600,000 in drug money to Mexico, the indictment alleges.
“Exercising strong federal laws and extradition is critical to weakening transnational drug cartels that send deadly drugs to the U.S.,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Robert Bell said in a statement Friday. “The DEA appreciates doing its important work with our close partners to keep Americans safe.”
Guerreros Unidos is reportedly known for its extraordinarily brutal methods, including public displays of beheading victims. The group was implicated in the 2014 disappearance of 43 teaching students, a matter in which Casarrubias Salgado’s brother Sidronio was allegedly involved, according to Mexican reports.
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