Víctor Zapién Venegas; eyes blurred by Mexican officials
On Monday, Mexican authorities extradited Víctor Zapién Venegas (“El Domingo”), a high-ranking member of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), to the United States. He was wanted by U.S. officials for drug trafficking and money laundering. The transfer was done at the Toluca International Airport, where he was handed over to U.S. authorities.
El Domingo was a close enforcer of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (“El Mencho”), the CJNG’s leader. The accused was responsible for coordinating international drug trafficking shipments for the CJNG from Colombia, Peru and Mexico into the U.S., as mentioned in a 2016 indictment issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
On 23 March 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California filed a superseding indictment against El Domingo and Hugo Rosalio Lugo Inda (“Wero”). They were charged with smuggling cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine into the U.S. from Colombia, Peru, Mexico and elsewhere. The names of the other defendants remain sealed.
In addition, they were charged with attempting to conceal the origins of their drug proceeds by engaging in money laundering. They were ordered to forfeit all earnings derived from the scheme and/or other assets to make up for the total sum.
The two defendants used multiple U.S. bank accounts to hide the proceeds earned in the scheme: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Northern Trust Bank, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, US Bank, Fifth Third Bank and First National Bank.
Background: 2016 arrest
On 10 September 2016, El Domingo was arrested by the Mexican Army, the Federal Police and Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) in Playas del Rosarito, Baja California. He was in the passenger seat of a vehicle that had six cocaine packages. Upon his arrest, El Domingo was sent to the state facilities of the PGR in Baja California for questioning. The identity of the driver was not released to the press.
Investigators confirmed that they were following his trace for several months and discovered he was hiding in Baja California. When they discovered he was in Playas de Rosarito, they proceeded to apprehend him in a swift operation. No shots were fired during his arrest. At the moment of his capture, El Domingo had an extradition request from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. With his extradition, U.S. authorities hope to build a stronger case against El Mencho, who is wanted in the U.S. for multiple outstanding drug charges.