Suspected Mexican cartel leader pleads guilty in Texas to drug trafficking, money laundering

A man described by prosecutors as the former leader of Mexico's Gulf drug cartel has pleaded guilty in Texas to drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

The Beaumont Enterprise reports ( ) Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez told U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone in Beaumont on Tuesday that he smuggled about 100 tons of marijuana and almost a half-ton of cocaine, generating about $100 million. He said he took the cash to Mexico and reinvested it into the business to buy drugs and "other things."

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Craft says the 23-year-old defendant joined the cartel in 2007 as a lookout. The Drug Enforcement Administration says Saenz-Tamez became the head of the cartel after the 2013 arrest of its former leader.

He was arrested in October. A sentencing hearing hasn't been set.


Information from: The Beaumont Enterprise,