Son of former Gulf Cartel leader busted in Texas for smuggling drugs, weapons

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The son of one of the most notorious drug cartel leaders in Mexican history was arrested by U.S. authorities as he attempted to smuggle weapons and drugs into Mexico from Texas.

Osiel Cárdenas Jr., son of former drug lord Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, was in a U.S. federal court earlier this week to face charges that he purportedly tried to traffic hundreds of rounds of military-style ammunition south of the border.

The younger Cárdenas was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents when they found nearly 500 rounds of ammunition as well as "tactical weapons gear" hidden within the dashboard and other parts of his Cadillac Escalade SUV as he attempted to cross a bridge spanning the Rio Grande that connects South Texas to Mexico.

Cárdenas, who is listed on court papers as a U.S. citizen, admitted that the ammunition was his and that he had hidden it in his car because he knew it was illegal to smuggle the rifle ammunition and magazines into Mexico, an affidavit acquired by the Houston Chronicle stated.

The inspection of Cárdenas’ vehicle netted 290 rounds of 9 mm ammunition, 161 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition, 29 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, two .223 rifle magazines and other tactical weapons gear hidden in the glove box, center console and in a factory compartment behind the stereo buttons.

A pat-down inspection of Cárdenas also found 14.2 grams of marijuana inside his underwear. He is scheduled to attend a detention hearing Thursday.

Cárdenas’ father, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, was arrested in 2007 in Mexico and soon after extradited to the United States. He received 25 years in a so-called Supermax prison in Colorado in February 2010 after pleading guilty to five counts in an indictment that included drug trafficking, money laundering and the attempted murder and assault of federal agents.

While taking a number of hits from both the Mexican federal government and rival drug cartels, the Gulf Cartel is still one of the Mexico’s largest drug-trafficking organizations and considers the area in Matamoros – south of Brownsville, Texas – its home turf.

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