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Drug Cartel Leader Arrested and Charged in Chicago

A man accused of leading a powerful Mexican drug cartel has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to import and sell large amounts of cocaine and heroin in the United States.

According to a report in the Washington Post, Jesus Vincente Zambada-Niebla was an influential, second-generation member of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Authorities say he helped to move large amounts of cocaine and heroin from South and Central America to the United States between 2005 to 2008.

Arrested in Mexico City last year, Zambada-Niebla was turned over to U.S. authorities in what Justice Department authorities have referred to as a major step in the right direction in the war on drugs. A number of federal and local law enforcement officials took part in the arrest, which was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

This case could be an easy one to prosecute, simply because there is a significant amount of evidence, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Shakeshaft told Castillo.

Zambada-Niebla has been charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than one kilogram of heroin. Charges also include conspiracy to import more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than one kilogram of heroin into the United States.

This defendant is among three dozen indicted in August in Chicago. He is also charged in a separate case pending in the nation’s capital. U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said last week that the extradition of this accused drug lord is a significant development in the country’s effort to prosecute international drug transportation conspiracies wherever individuals may be operating.

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