One of the founding members of Mexico’s ruthless Sinaloa Cartel, Jesus Hector Palma Salazar, will see the other side of a jail for the first time in 20 years this Saturday.
It is unknown if Palma will be deported or face charges in Mexico, where he is wanted for several murders including the 1993 machine-gun slaying of Roman Catholic Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo at the Guadalajara airport.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Palma Salazar – nicknamed “El Guero” or “Blondie” – will be released from the federal high security Atwater Penitentiary in Central San Joaquin Valley, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The man, 55, allegedly helped found the Sinaloa Cartel with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is starting a process of extradition to the U.S.
Palma was arrested in June 1995 after the 12-seat Lear jet he was flying to attend a wedding ceremony in Guadalajara crash-landed. He was later arrested by Mexican military officers and extradited to the U.S. in 2007.
He pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
The Yucatan Times reported a spokesperson for Atwater prison said Palma will be released via “good conduct time release.”
Palma’s life in the drug trade has been marked by personal tragedy and excess amounts of bloody conflict.
Rival gangster Rafael Clavel Moreno reportedly seduced Palma’s wife and had her withdraw $7 million from a bank account before she was beheaded. Clavel, who sent the head to Palma, also shoved his children off a bridge in Venezuela.
"It devastated him," Mike Vigil, a retired chief of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, told the Houston Chronicle. “After his kids were killed, he lost all of his morality … He took off the gloves.
Clavel was later stabbed to death.