Money running low? You could help nab a Mexican drug suspect.
The U.S. State Department is offering up to $50 million for information leading to the arrests of 10 top Mexican drug suspects — $5 million per suspect — accused of key roles in a violent organization estimated to have sold more than $1 billion worth of drugs in the United States.
The suspects are top leaders of the Gulf Cartel and its enforcement arm, Los Zetas.
The Gulf Cartel targets are: Heriberto Lazcano-Lazcano, Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas-Guillen, Miguel Trevino-Morales, Mario Ramirez-Trevino, Gilberto Barragan-Balderas, Juan Reyes Mejia-Gonzalez, Alejandro Trevino-Morales, and Samuel Flores-Borrego. The Los Zetas targets are: Jesus Enrique Rejon-Aguilar, and Aurelio Cano-Flores.
Four of them have been designated as narcotics kingpins by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
In an indictment unsealed Monday in Brooklyn federal court, Miguel Trevino-Morales was charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise, international cocaine distribution and firearms violations.
U.S. Attorney Benton J. Campbell said in a release that Trevino-Morales, who could face life in prison if convicted, was the principal leader of Los Zetas, a group that includes former members of the Air Mobile Special Forces Group of the Mexican military who went into the drug-smuggling business.
"The joint efforts announced today are significant steps in the department's strategy to stop the flow of illegal drugs into our communities and the shipment of drug proceeds back to Mexico," Campbell said.
The $50 million is being offered through the Narcotics Rewards Program, which has paid over $44 million in rewards to individuals whose information helped capture many major violators of U.S. drug laws responsible for importing hundreds of tons of illegal narcotics into the United States each year.
The indictment unsealed in Brooklyn said the Gulf Cartel had become the dominant force in the drug trade along the Gulf of Mexico, transporting multi-ton quantities of cocaine each month from Mexico to Texas after obtaining it in Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela and elsewhere.
It said a small group of deserters from the Mexican military was taken into the drug organization in the 1990s to provide a personal security force for the organization's leader.
Eventually, the security force protected the entire organization, carrying out numerous murders, kidnappings and tortures as it ensured that cocaine and other drugs moved safely through Mexico into the United States, the indictment said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.